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Saturday, January 8, 2011

A culture of violence

by Nancy Giles on Saturday, January 8, 2011 at 3:42pm

As I write this, Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is in critical condition,fighting for her life in a Tuscon hospital, after being shot in the head by a deranged man while at a public event at a Safeway supermarket in her district. And just so you know, just so that we're clear about this, Congresswoman Giffords ran for re-election in November (and won), but was one of the Democrats that was targeted by Sarah Palin's "crosshairs" map.  Remember that map?  With the view from a gun viewfinder, dotted all over the country where Democrats were running for election?  Remember Sarah Palin's "don't retreat, reload" remarks, that she expressed wide-eyed surprise that anyone could think she meant her supporters should actually shoot anyone?   Six people were killed at this event, including a nine-year old girl, a Federal judge, and one of Congresswoman Giffords' aides.

This is the culture of violence that some have been dancing around since the election of President Barack Obama.  The people who, all of a sudden, claim their Second Amendment right to carry assault weapons to town hall meetings and rallies, the people, and politicians who, by their silence, give these shameful people legitimacy. Today's tragedy is more proof of the 200% increase in hate groups since President Obama was elected.  And this is no joke. And that this tragedy should happen on the heels of the GOP debate for head of their party -- the debate where one of the questions, serious questions, was: "How many guns do you own?" Are these the people you want in any position of power in this country?  Ever?   I certainly hope that as this story unfolds that Sarah Palin's awful, incendiary map is shown over and over again.  Maybe the combination of this and her beating fish and shooting moose will alert people to how truly dangerous this fake "Mama Grizzly" is, and bring shame to the people who've stayed silent as this hate rhetoric has gotten louder.

Most importantly, I hope that the Congresswoman pulls through, and am so sad for the other victims and their families.

Nancy Giles is a National Board member of the Screen Actors Guild, an ally of mine on the board floor and a very good person, with a very large heart. This is excerpted from Facebook.

SAG Awards Screener Access Info

Fox to put awards screeners on iTunes for SAG members

Democratic Arizona Congresswoman shot in head, 11 shot, at least 6 dead includes US District Judge and 9 year old girl

Emergency responders surround the scene of a shooting where a gunman opened fire Saturday, shooting Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and several others in Tuscon, Ariz.
EnlargeChris Morrison/AP
Emergency responders surround the scene of a shooting where a gunman opened fire Saturday, shooting Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and several others in Tuscon, Ariz.

January 8, 2011
A gunman opened fire Saturday onto a crowd at a public event held by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Ariz., critically injuring the congresswoman and killing at least five people.
The dead included U.S. District Judge John Roll and a 9-year-old girl, President Obama said in a brief statement Saturday. Giffords, who was shot in the head, was among at least 13 people injured, according to the Pima County, Ariz., sheriff's office.
"Gabby Giffords was a friend of mine. She is not only an extraordinary public servant, but she is also someone who is warm and caring. She is well-liked by her colleagues and well-liked by her constituents," Obama said.
"I know Gabby is as tough as they come and I am hopeful that she is going to pull through," he said.
NPR and other news organizations reported earlier Saturday that Giffords had died. NPR member station KJZZ in Phoenix reported the congresswoman and six others had been killed by the gunman, based on a source in the Pima County sheriff's office.
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was re-elected to a third term in November.
Drew Angerer/AP
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was re-elected to a third term in November.
Giffords, who was re-elected to a third term in November, was hosting a "Congress on Your Corner" event at a Safeway in northwest Tucson when a gunman ran up and started shooting, according to Peter Michaels, news director of Arizona Public Media.
The suspect fired indiscriminately from about four feet away, Michaels said. A congressional official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity that the gunman was using an automatic weapon.
The suspect ran off and was tackled by a bystander. He was taken into custody. Witnesses described him as in his late teens or early 20s. Federal, state and local law enforcement authorities in Arizona are investigating the shooting.
The congresswoman was transported to University Medical Center in Tucson.
Giffords was first elected to represent Arizona's 8th District in 2006. The "Congress on Your Corner" events, which she holds regularly, allow constituents to present their concerns directly to her.
Giffords' Tucson office was one of three damaged last March by vandals who targeted Democrats in advance of the U.S. House vote on the controversial health care legislation. A glass panel at her office was shattered, and at the time her staff said that it appeared the window had been damaged by a pellet gun.
Giffords is married to astronaut Mark E. Kelly, who has piloted space shuttles Endeavour and Discovery. The two met in China in 2003 while they were serving on a committee there, and were married in January 2007.

About Gabrielle Giffords

  • Born: June 8, 1970, in Tucson
  • Family: Married to Mark Kelly, a Navy pilot and astronaut with NASA; two children
  • Home: Tucson, Ariz.
  • Religion: Jewish
  • U.S. House Representative, elected 2006
  • State senator, Arizona 2002-05
  • State representative, Arizona 2000-02
  • CEO El Campo Tire 1997-00
  • Price Waterhouse Coopers 1996-97
  • Scripps College, BA, 1993
  • Cornell University, MS, 1996
  • Fulbright Scholar in Mexico, 1996
House Speaker John Boehner condemned the attack.
"An attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve," he said in a statement. "Acts and threats of violence against public officials have no place in our society."
Her fellow Arizona congressman, Republican Jeff Flake, reached Saturday on his way to the hospital recalled that he had last spoken with Giffords on the House floor during this week's swearing-in ceremony.
"We have a fairly small delegation and we've met often," he said of Giffords, who in November beat back a tough challenge from a Tea Party-endorsed opponent.
"She got re-elected because she's tenacious," Flake said. "There was a very strong headwind against all Democrats and people did not expect her to come back to Congress.
"But she was tireless," he said. "Others may have held back after things happen — like the damage to her office. She was fearless."
Flake said emotions have been running high in Arizona over issues, including immigration.
"That's obviously an issue that is a very passionate one for a lot of people," he said.
Three hours after the shooting, the L-shaped shopping center in Tucson was blocked off by police and had fire trucks and other vehicles in its parking lot that blocked the view of the store's front door. No shell casings could be seen from the area 500 yards from the store where reporters and photographers were kept.
Outside Giffords' office on Capitol Hill, a handful of congressional staffers could be seen walking into her office without comment, some with roller bags and one who was in tears. About a half dozen yellow flowers, placed by one mourner, sat outside the door.

.NPR's Liz Halloran and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Verizon Expected to Announce iPhone Service Next Week


Verizon Wireless is expected to announce next week that it will begin supplying service to iPhones. The Verizon phone will be similar to the iPhone 4 but run on the company's CDMA technology, reports the Wall Street Journal.
AT&T's carrier wave is faster with a larger capacity, which is why the standard iPhone was engineered or AT&T. The Verizon phone will run at Verison speeds (slower but most people will not notice the difference) and be subject to a drop outs in areas not fully covered by Verizon.
The official news will most likely come during the company's press event Tuesday. The invitation to the event was purposely vague, saying only "Join us as we share the latest news from Verizon Wireless" and that Verizon president and COO Lowell McAdam would host at Lincoln Center's Frederick P. Rose Hall.
The move would break AT&T’s exclusive grip as the smartphone’s mobile carrier.
There is no word on when Verizon's iPhone will be available to consumers.

Meanwhile AT&T has reduced the price of an iPhone3 (previous generation) to $29.95, and is now call their already faster system "G4", which is an artificial marketing construct launched originally by the slowest system Sprint in their marketing, more than an actual technological break.
Sources: CES and Hollywood Reporter.