Arizona Jewish Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords critical after shot in the head

As soon as the news broke from Tucson, the New York Times began reporting that the shooting might have been politically motivated by right-wingers such as Sarah Palin.

This was in its news reports (since deleted).

It turns out the shooter was into left-wing conspiracies.

JTA reports:

Giffords was elected to Congress in the Democratic sweep in 2006. The first Jewish woman elected to Congress from the state, she made her Jewish identity part of her campaign.

“If you want something done, your best bet is to ask a Jewish woman to do it,” said Giffords, a former state senator, said at the time. “Jewish women — by our tradition and by the way we were raised — have an ability to cut through all the reasons why something should, shouldn’t or can’t be done and pull people together to be successful.”

Giffords, 40, was raised “mixed” by a Christian Scientist mother and Jewish father, but said that after a visit to Israel in 2001, she had decided she was Jewish only. She attended services at a local Reform synagogue.

In one of her last photos, she posed with the new U.S. House of Representatives speaker, Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) at her swearing in; her hand is on the “Five Books of Moses.”

Instapundit reports:

And judging from the comments to this post, people are already trying to score political points. Well, they kind of telegraphed this strategy, didn’t they? Remember Bloomberg making a fool of himself by blaming the Times Square bombing on the Tea Party? How about waiting until we actually know something, this time? That’s likely to be soon enough.

MORE: KOLD reports Giffords is alive and in surgery. Stay tuned.

MORE STILL: A blogger-email from Speaker Boehner’s office: “I am horrified by the senseless attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and members of her staff. An attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve. Acts and threats of violence against public officials have no place in our society. Our prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords, her staff, all who were injured, and their families. This is a sad day for our country.”

Ed Driscoll is updating with news. Kos is airbrushing.

EVEN MORE: His name’s Jared Lee Loughner and he seems like a garden variety nut:

Among his long list of favorite books in his YouTube profile are Mein Kampf, The Communist Manifesto, Siddhartha.

Loughner also “favorited” just one video on YouTube, which shows the burning of an American flag and is accompanied by an anti-government screed.

Doesn’t sound much like a Tea Partier. And what the hell is “conscience dreaming?”

Media Matters: Don’t Score Political Points. Oh, wait . . . .

MORE: High School Friend: “As I knew him he was left wing, quite liberal. & oddly obsessed with the 2012 prophecy.” More here.

Also: Man linked to Giffords shooting called ‘very disturbed.’

BARACK OBAMA: “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.”

UPDATE: Reader Ron Hardin emails: “It’s time to stamp out violent figures of speech.” Heh.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Pejman Yousefzadeh rounds up statements by Ezra Klein, Markos Moulitsas, and Paul Krugman and asks: “Who are these people to be lecturing the rest of us about political civility?”

MORE: In 2008, Markos Moulitsas put a “bullseye” on Gabrielle Giffords’ district. While we’re tracking those violent figures of speech . . . .

Give it up guys. Your efforts to politicize this tragedy have been pathetic.

To be clear, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Markos’s post, which is about primary challenges. But I do think there’s something wrong with pretending that this sort of language is to blame for nuts. And if you’re going to claim that, well, sauce for the goose. . . .

Related: Democrat Harry Mitchell Places Opponent in Crosshairs.


Paul Krugman writes:

We don’t have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was. She’s been the target of violence before. And for those wondering why a Blue Dog Democrat, the kind Republicans might be able to work with, might be a target, the answer is that she’s a Democrat who survived what was otherwise a GOP sweep in Arizona, precisely because the Republicans nominated a Tea Party activist. (Her father says that “the whole Tea Party” was her enemy.) And yes, she was on Sarah Palin’s infamous “crosshairs” list.

Just yesterday, Ezra Klein remarked that opposition to health reform was getting scary. Actually, it’s been scary for quite a while, in a way that already reminded many of us of the climate that preceded the Oklahoma City bombing.

You know that Republicans will yell about the evils of partisanship whenever anyone tries to make a connection between the rhetoric of Beck, Limbaugh, etc. and the violence I fear we’re going to see in the months and years ahead. But violent acts are what happen when you create a climate of hate. And it’s long past time for the GOP’s leaders to take a stand against the hate-mongers.

Update: I see that Sarah Palin has called the shooting “tragic”. OK, a bit of history: right-wingers went wild over anyone who called 9/11 a tragedy, insisting that it wasn’t a tragedy, it was an atrocity.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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