Almost everything of morbid interest about today’s mass shooting in Tuscon can be found in our previous post. The latest version of the news is this: Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a popular Democrat representing Arizona’s liberal refuge of Tuscon, was shot through the head by a suspect identified as 22-year-old Jared Loughner. Giffords is now out of neurosurgery, under anesthesia and was reportedly responsive to doctors’ voices during the surgery. The dead include a federal judge, John Roll, and an unidentified small child. President Obama came out with a written statement and then a televised statement, the news channels have dragged in the weekday staff, and the insane mass shooting follows many, many threats and even nuts with guns showing up at the congresswoman’s earlier neighborhood meetings. (Updates are at the bottom of this post.)
Nobody has yet confirmed that Jared Loughner is a current or former member of the armed forces or a veteran of the Afghanistan wars.
Giffords’ record is “moderate Democrat,” typical of the Southwestern Democrats in state and federal office. Her big issue for her third term has been the deficit.
The group behind that “gun crosshairs on the Democrats in Congress” map now says they never took down the image, just that it’s not prominent now because the election is over. Way to stick by your guns! [Ben Smith]
The suspected shooter’s suspected YouTube craziness is all in our previous post.
Giffords happily took part in the Republicans’ reading of the Constitution last week, posting on her Twitter account that it was a “great way to begin session” and reading the First Amendment during her turn at the mic.
Her husband is an astronaut, as we’ve heard all afternoon. But her brother-in-law — her husband’s brother, Captain Scott J. Kelly — is the current commander of the International Space Station, orbiting this weird planet right now. An astronaut watching the news of the attempted assassination of his congresswoman sister-in-law from his perch on the ISS hurtling around the Earth is exactly the kind of weird Philip K. Dick future we were really hoping to skip.
Wonkette reader Helen L. sends word of a vigil tonight in Washington outside the Capitol. Seems to be an impromptu thing. Starts in an hour, 7 p.m.
This is supposedly Jared Laughner’s MySpace front page, from a screengrab posted to Flickr. We haven’t seen the actual page.
Hospital update: Giffords remains in critical condition, the murdered child was a nine-year-old who was brought to the medical center but couldn’t be saved.
Gah: “Last August, Giffords aides called the police after a man dropped a gun at a similar town hall style event at a Safeway.”
Meanwhile, MSNBC has sent a cliche expert to stand on the shooter’s suburban street, described as “very quiet,” so she can then describe Jared Laughner as “a loner.”
We’ll be back later, because we’re going for a nice hike in the hills with the dog. You might want to get off the Internet and go outside, too. Whether its cold & snowy or (like it is on the West Coast today) one of those “False Spring” days of sunshine and mild temperatures, it will be much more pleasant than looking at the screen for another couple of hours.
Midnight Update: We’ve put up a quick “second suspect” post on the Wonkwire. Yes, they’re officially after a white guy in his 50s who may have brought the young lunatic gunman to the rally and set him loose on Giffords. Insanity, just more and more insanity.
Also, the sheriff said this, according to ABC News:
“The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. And unfortunately Arizona I think is the capital. We are the Mecca for prejudice for prejudice and bigotry,” he said.