By Calvin Palmer
As an Englishman living in America, I find yesterday’s shooting in Arizona of an elected representative both appalling and tragic.
Little is known about the suspected gunman, Jared Lee Loughner, 22, from Tucson, Arizona, who killed six people and left Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords fighting for her life after she was shot in the head at point-blank range.
Loughner was described by a doctor who treated some of the victims at the scene as a young white man with a “determined look on his face” and wearing dark clothing.
Congresswoman Giffords had narrowly beaten off tough challenge in November’s congressional elections by a Tea Party-backed Republican candidate. She had previously received death threats and her offices had been shot at.
Tea Party idol Sarah Palin in the run-up to the election published a “target map” on her web site using images of gun sights to identify 20 Democrats, including Miss Giffords.
But enough people in Arizona had the good sense to re-elect Giffords to her third term in Congress.
In an interview after the vandalism, Giffords referred to the animosity against her.
“We’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list,” she said, “but the thing is, the way that she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they have to realise that there are consequences to that action.”
Her father Spencer Giffords, 75, when asked if his daughter had any enemies, told reporters, “Yeah, the whole Tea Party.”
Palin has issued a brief statement.
“My sincere condolences are offered to the family of Rep Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of today’s tragic shooting in Arizona,” she said.
“On behalf of Todd and my family, we all pray for the victims and their families, and for peace and justice.”
If that is the best that someone who hopes to become President of the United States can say about this shocking incident then I fear for America’s future. It is a prime example of insincere sincerity, an unfortunate trait of many ultra-conservatives.
The inclusion of Todd and her family smacks of delusions of grandeur but is in keeping with their ignorant white trash status. No surprise there.
President Obama said the attack was “an unspeakable tragedy” and added: “We do not yet have all the answers. What we do know is that such a senseless and terrible act of violence has no place in a free society.
“I ask all Americans to join me and Michelle in keeping Rep Giffords, the victims of this tragedy, and their families in our prayers.”
The newly-elected Republican House Speaker, John Boehner, said: “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.”
Notice how the President and House Speaker used words like “unspeakable” and “senseless” in their statements.
Condemnation is notable by its absence in the statement by Palin, which simply proves she truly represents gutter politics and is unfit to hold high office.