I am shocked and saddened by the events in Arizona today. While out in her community, talking to her constituents, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head by a gunman who went on to shoot 18 others, killing at least five. Among the dead: a nine year old girl and a federal judge. Now, Ms. Giffords is fighting for her life in the ICU.
Running for political office takes guts. It comes with risks; death threats and screaming constituents are part of the territory. But I thought that being a part of this country meant agreeing that we are civilized people, and we will discuss our differences rationally, even if those words are spoken at a high volume. That we agree that our government, right or wrong, can only work if we maintain some level of decorum and respect for the process. The thought that someone would put a gun to the head of a person who was in her community, listening to the people undermines the essence of our political system.
I want to thank Congresswoman Giffords for her service to this country. Being an elected official is a more thankless job than most people realize, but it is rarely this dangerous. I hope that this terrible moment will mark the end of the violent undertones that have invaded the political speeches of late, and lead us down a path where we can progress as one nation, committed to cooperation and conversation.
[Feministing is updating their coverage of the story as it progresses.]