Since she was gunned down at a Safeway in Tucson on Saturday, there’s been a lot to say about Representative Gabrielle Giffords:
She’s the youngest woman ever elected to the Arizona State Senate, Arizona’s only female congressional delegate and the first Jewish person ever elected in the state.
She’s fiscally conservative and socially liberal.
She supports immigration reform but wants to protects the human rights protected.
She supports the military but opposes the war in Iraq.
She’s one of the only moderate, reasonable people left in Congress.
She’s a nice Jewish lady who is proud of her heritage. (“Jewish women, by and large, know how to get things done,” she told JTA in 2006.
What can I say about the Gabby Giffords and Saturday’s horrific event?
That I pray for her speedy and full recovery. Shouting out a Debbie Friedman “Misheberach,” to Ms. G. and the others who were wounded.)
That my heart and prayers are with the parents of Christina-Taylor Green, the gifted nine year-old with a provocative birthday and a passion for politics, who lost their beautiful daughter to senseless violence.
And with the parents and fiancée of Gabe Zimmerman, Giffords’ beloved aide.
And with the family of Judge John Roll. And the loved ones of the victims of those whose names have not been released.
I can also say that while Jared Lee Loughner is a likely an untreated schizophrenic cookoopie whose psychotic violence may or may not have been influenced by vitriolic propaganda of right wing media windbags or motivated by anti-Semitism, his frightening actions are an indicator that something is very, very wrong with our gun laws.
As my friend Dr. Cathy Skidmore-Hess asked, “How does a young man who is too mentally ill to attend college get a semiautomatic?” Why else does a person buy a machine gun OTHER than to have the capability to kill many people at once?
Josh Horwitz, the Executive Director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, points out the sick logic of the NRA’s Second Amendment “remedies” in his column today:
If our leaders—of all political persuasions—once again fail to find their voices and speak out in no uncertain terms against insurrectionist ideology and the weak gun laws that routinely arm America’s deranged and disgruntled, then Tucson will mark the beginning, and not the end, of America’s flirtation with anarchy.
Surely, there are reasonable people on both sides of the gun control issue who are willing to make it harder for would-be murderers to walk into a sporting goods store and buy a weapon. Otherwise, we can all look forward to wearing Teflon vests to the grocery store.