Gabrielle Giffords was shot today at an event in her constituency in Arizona. She is a young woman, recently married, just re-elected to her third term in office. She is a member of the House Committees for Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, and Science and Technology. She is pro-choice, pro-renewable energy, and, yes, pro-gun (though not enough for the NRA). Her husband is an astronaut. I send my best wishes to her friends and family, who are not only at risk of losing a loved one of accomplishment and promise but now have to deal with the political environment in which this happened.
The revisionism, of course, is already beginning, so as much as I respect the sentiment that the politics can wait, I think it’s at least as important to reinforce clearly that no matter who did this, we are still well aware of the overall context of this horrible attack.
This was the centerpiece messaging for Sarah Palin’s “Take Back the 20” campaign, before 2010’s midterm elections. She can revise her web pages any way she likes today—it won’t change the fact that she published this image right alongside her own smiling face.
Note: www.takebackthe20.com’s accessibility has been spotty for several hours, and it’ll probably be hit hard for a while yet.
Update: Giffords herself on this overheated rhetoric, in an interview shortly after the healthcare vote, when Giffords’s office had been vandalized:
Update January 9: The spin is dizzying. As Dave Weigel notes, Current Palin spin for target map would make more sense if she didn’t spend 2010 doubling down on it.
Among the people who gave the impression that these were targets: Sarah Palin. When she announced the list in a tweet, she wrote “don’t retreat, instead – RELOAD!” I’m not an expert surveyor, but I’m not sure what sort of tools need reloading. Jonathan Martin points out that after the election, Palin tweeted about her success (18 of the seats went to the GOP) by saying “remember months ago ‘bullseye’ icon used 2 target the 20 Obamacare-lovin’ incumbent seats?” Throughout 2010, when Palin was criticized for the target map, she either didn’t respond or mocked the “lamestream media” for interpreting her gun metaphors as calls for violence. At the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, for example, she got big applause when she said “Don’t retreat, reload — and that is not a call for violence!”