US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a three-term representative from Arizona’s 8th District was shot this morning, along with six others at a “Congress on Your Corner” meet-and-greet in Tucson.
Perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not, Gifford is one of the Representatives who appears in the crosshairs on Sarah Palin’s “Target List”, because of her support of healthcare reform. (And oh, hey, it’s since been scrubbed from Palin’s website! And now her camp claims that they were just “surveyor marks!“)
It’s too early to say if the shooting was politically motivated, although I find it hard to believe Gifford was not the target since she was shot at close range at a political event. Was her death the result of the inflammatory rhetoric of Palin and Tea Party extremists? Correlation does not automatically equal causation—but it also usually indicates a link. I’m reminded of Henry II of England, who according to legend incited the murder of his political nemesis Thomas Becket with what he claimed was only a hypothetical cry: “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?”
If it turns out this attack was politically motivated, this is terrorism, pure and simple. And the GOP and Tea Party had better recognize it as such.
Update: Congresswoman Giffords is out of surgery and stable, according to CNN, although they report that a bullet went clear through her head. The shooter, Jared Loughner, is in custody but confirmed in a letter left in his home that Giffords was his target.