There are just initial reports that a Democratic Congresswoman has been shot in Arizona while holding a public event. While it is scary and shocking, unfortunately I can't say I am truly surprised. If you listen to the rhetoric and inflammatory language from the likes of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Bachmann and others, it doesn't take a stretch of the imagination to envision crazies acting upon their words. It has been a turbulent time with a bad economy, high unemployment and people getting frustrated and angry. Just take a look at some of these quotes and try to tell me that these people aren't inciting violence.
"I hope that's not where we're going, but you know if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies [emphasis added] and saying my goodness what can we do to turn this country around? I'll tell you the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out." Sharron Angle
"Don't retreat. Instead - reload" Sarah Palin
"To the day I die, I am going to be a progressive hunter." Glenn Beck
"I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous [emphasis added] on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back." and "...having a revolution every now and then is a good thing" Michele Bachmann
Huffington Post is live blogging updates here. Apparently at least 12 people were shot, and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot point-blank in the head. There is no word on her condition yet. This is a horrible incident and one that should make the Glenn Becks and the Rush Limbaughs of the world think very carefully about their words. I certainly hope this is an isolated incident and doesn't lead to more violence.
UPDATE: It is being reported that Representative Giffords has died. What a sad day. My thoughts go out to her family and loved ones. We are speculating about the motive of the gunman, but whatever the case, I truly believe words have power, and the rhetoric in this country needs to be toned down.
UPDATE2: Apparently, Representative Giffords may be alive. NPR, CNN and Reuters have all retracted that she has died. She is in critical condition.