Arizona shooting sends shockwaves nationwide
Accessibility is a given for our politicians. During her tenure as the representative for this sprawling 20th congressional district, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was diligent about meeting with all sorts of people. “Congress on Your Corner” is a great way to talk with and listen to constituents, and no doubt contributed to her popularity with voters. Her successor, Scott Murphy, held them as well.
Today, this district’s brand new congressman, Chris Gibson, is with his family in the D.C. area, at a retreat with new House members. His office released a statement expressing sadness and extending their thoughts and prayers.
What else must Gibson and his wife – and every other politician -- be thinking? Will today’s shooting put a chill on informal gatherings? I hope not. What do you think?
Perhaps nothing can stop a crazy person. But crazy talk by supposedly sane people – hateful political verbal violence – must not be condoned. How do you know when you’ve gone to far? After the shooting, Sarah Palin pulled off a website a graphic showing gun crosshairs at political targets in the country, including Gabrielle Giffords’ district, with the heading “We’ve diagnosed the problem …. Help us prescribe the solution.”
Of course Palin didn’t mean people should be shot. She had nothing to do with the shooting. But it’s an example of the kind of vitriol that can encourage some nut to take literally.
“Congress on Your Corner” has become such a commonplace event, the media stifle a yawn when a longtime congress member announces yet another get-together at the local grocery store. But the truth is, they are important exercises in democracy, good for both the politicians and the people. They must continue, and they will – but the cloud of today’s mass murders will hover.
CNN is reporting optimism about Giffords’ chance of survival. My fingers are crossed. Saratoga Springs High School grad Pia Carusone, Giffords’ chief of staff, was en route to Tucson this evening from Washington D.C., to be with her boss as she fights for her life, and to be with her colleagues – one of whom is among the dead in this terrible tragedy.