Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who bravely stood by her views in a state that has increasingly become a lightning rod for right-wing extremism, is fighting for her life today after a senseless shooting that epitomizes the sorry state of the nation’s hate-filled politics.
Giffords’s father Spencer, 75, wept when asked if his daughter had any enemies. “Yeah,” he said. “The whole Tea Party.”
The alleged shooter Jared Loughner, 22, appears to ber aloner, who was known to police for making death threats.
He apparently had no problem obtaining a handgun with an extended magazine that would be illegal in other states and firing at point blank range at Giffords and others in a suburban shopping mall.
Witnesses said he walked calmly up to Giffords and fired at point blank range. Doctors said the bullet went “through and through,” but after hours of surgery, doctors say she has a good chance of recovering.
In all, six bystanders were killed and 12 people were seriously injured after the gunman went berserk with a Glock 9mm pistol, the local sheriff’s office said.
Giffords, is a liberal pro-abortion Democrat who was targeted by the radical Tea Party, but narrowly defeated a conservative Republican challenger in a hotly contested election.
Her husband, Capt. Mark Kelly, is an astronaut who has logged several trips into space aboard the space shuttle. He was at her side last night.
After shooting Giffords, police officials say Loughner randomly fired 15 to 20 shots into the crowd.
He was tackled to the ground by two bystanders and police said he was carrying additional ammunition. Police are searching for a second man who may be an accomplice.
The suspect was known to police for making death threats on previous occasions, but Giffords had no security on the scene.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer called the shooting Arizona’s “worst nightmare.”
It’s more like the nation’s worst nightmare.