Rep. Giffords, Wife of NASA Astronaut, Shot


Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was shot in the head Saturday when an assailant opened fire outside a grocery store during a meeting with constituents, killing at least five people and wounding several others. Giffords is the wife of NASA astronaut Mark Kelly who is scheduled to command one of the last space shuttle missions. Giffords is reportedly in stable condition. Those killed included a 9-year-old child and a federal judge.

Kelly is scheduled to command the shuttle Endeavour in April, but he immediately flew on a NASA jet to Tucson from Houston, officials said, and asked to be put on personal leave. His twin brother Scott is now on board the International Space Station as commander. NASA officials said Scott Kelly was informed of the shooting by flight controllers at the Johnson Space Center.

Reports say the gunman shot Giffords from about a foot away, and then opened fire on the rest of the crowd. The gunman was subdued by other members of the crowd and is now in custody.

The surgeon who attended Giffords said the bullet traveled all the way through her head, but he is optimistic about her recovery.

NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden issued a statement on the tragedy:

“We at NASA are deeply shocked and saddened by the senseless shooting of Representative Giffords and others at Saturday’s public event in Tucson. As a long-time supporter of NASA, Representative Giffords not only has made lasting contributions to our country, but is a strong advocate for the nation’s space program and a member of the NASA family. She also is a personal friend with whom I have had the great honor of working. We at NASA mourn this tragedy and our thoughts and prayers go out to Congresswoman Giffords, her husband Mark Kelly, their family, and the families and friends of all who perished or were injured in this terrible tragedy.”

Sources: AP, Twitter

53 Replies to “Rep. Giffords, Wife of NASA Astronaut, Shot”

  1. This idiot has committed the most cowardly crime, this is simply disgusting. Shame! I’ve gotta look deep to find the Christ in me to forgive this fool… instead I am leaning toward a public stoning? I’m crying as I type. Just give me five minutes with him..

  2. Gun licenses a) shows you can handle the gun b) shows that you know what a gun is for (not people you disagree with).

    But of course, in US owning a gun is a right, never a wrong. 🙁

  3. @Torbjorn, forget it…. I’ve tried to understand them too, but I can’t. And Obama is calling for prayers instead of real regulations on weapons in US. Like the prayers will stop the next killing spree…. 🙁
    Too sad wonderful people are paying the price 🙁

    1. I’m with you, regulation is needed, but ironically “Giffords is a strong supporter of gun-ownership rights under the Second Amendment”, according to Huffington Post…….:-(

    2. Yes, this is apparently a reflexive european reaction that goes around a lot when these things happen. Downthread someone is arguing for *more* guns, but guns isn’t the problem, it is the people who uses them. Licenses is selective on the latter.

      Here in Sweden we have licenses, and IIRC the gun density is among the highest in Europe. (We have great woods and games, elk and bear among them.)

      Of course we don’t lug them around to protect ourselves at political meetings. *Because we have gun licenses and regulation for that.* Try it US, it works elsewhere so even a fumbling old doddering nation may learn.

      1. That old doddering nation tried prohibition of alcohol in the 1920’s. How did that work out? The problem isn’t the regulations, it is the whack jobs who break the laws on the books.

  4. yup. i’m an American and i don’t understand it either. when this country was formed it was still pretty much a wild frontier. you needed weapons more for the wild animals than the wild people. and of course back then the average gun took a minute or two to load, aim, and fire. it’s time for some change. i’ll trade my right to bear arms for the right to live safely.

  5. I am a fiscal and constitutional conservative, and as a woman living alone want to make sure that at need I can defend myself effectively against someone significantly bigger and stronger than I am. But murder is an appalling crime. *No one* has the right to take the life of other humans unless those humans are a real and immediate threat to him or his loved ones, or unless it is in the context of the judgment of a judge and jury at the conclusion of a properly conducted trial. What that idiot did was murder — *mass* murder — pure and simple. If he took his cue to do perpetrate those murders from someone else’s political speech, too bad — incitement to riot is no excuse for the riot, and speech not intended to inspire violent crime, such as I’m sure was the case with what Ms. Palin said, is no excuse for any wrongful act.

    I wish Kathy Gifford a complete recovery, as quickly as possible, and the same to all those injured by the gunman. May the families of those who were killed be comforted and consoled, and time heal wounds in their souls caused by those deaths. And may the gunman never leave prison other than feet-first, in a body-bag.

  6. This is just terrible. Such a lovely woman, shot in the face! I can’t understand how anyone can harm another person like this, it’s inhumane.

  7. Giffords was on Palin’s “hit list.” When these far right guys say these things, such as Palin’s statement, it should be taken seriously. Glen Beck says about progressives, “We’re gonna get you.” These are code words to the most insane in their ranks to “lock & load” and go after “enemies.” Think of the rock song with the lyrics “Lunatic fringe, I know you’re out there.” This has consequences, and they are within a tissue paper’s depth of calling for outright killing of people left of “Attila the Hun” politics. Remember in the wake of the 104th Congress in 1995 we saw various acts of domestic terror. We can expect much the same this time around — and maybe a whole lot more.

    Jared Loughner. the shooter, has a YouTube site that is interesting. This has signatures of Tea Party stuff — gone manic.

    I am sure law enforcement will pull these down shortly


    1. Thanks, watched it and it screams to me crystal meth. Once on that stuff they all more or less act the same way. Anyone recall the guy who stole the M-60 tank out is San Diego in ’95 or the guy who dug under his house in Stockton for gold until he was down 100 feet and the house colapsed? Crystal!!

  8. You know if more people had guns than this guy wouldn’t have been able to shoot as many people as he did.

  9. This deeply disturbed man was raised in an environment that feeds/thrives on violence. He’s a by-product of it.

    Today, 24×7 news shows fuel this insatiable desire for seeing violent acts, or police chases, or UFC legalized street fighting, etc. Just what exactly are we teaching our children? Today’s events are beyond the pale and a grim reminder of a society deeply in trouble.

    In the end, it’s not about the one person pulling the trigger, it’s more about how we as a society tolerate, and to some degree abet, this notion it’s OK to hurt or kill anyone with whom we disagree. Constructive, discourse of ideas and healthy debate in a free society may be idealistic, however, it’s a much more sane path than the sewer-like demagoguery and vitriol that now permeates all aspects of our American society. Today a Congresswomen was nearly killed because she wanted her constituents to know she cares about them. Meanwhile, Astronauts circle the Earth, seemingly oblivious to the intense warfare below. Such strange times we live in…very strange times.

    1. 2stepbay… you mentioned that “astronauts circle the Earth, seemingly oblivious…” Do you not know that Rep. Gifford’s husband is the brother of the current ISS commander and is scheduled to fly the next or last mission – however things work out. So, the astronauts circling the earth are VERY MUCH in tune with what’s going on down here..

      P.S. SHAME America… SHAME! Especially you Sarah Palin and YOU Glenn Beck, for calling out your DOGS! SICK sick politic.. go away!

      1. >Your comment about astronauts being oblivious to the violence on Earth was grossly inappropriate, insulting and disingenuous!

        Poor wording, perhaps. 🙁 While I realize astronauts are consciously aware of what’s going on below (not my point), the intention was to illustrate how to an astronaut’s eyes, there would be no apparent indication that such violence could possibly exist on such a lovely blue jewel below.

    2. 2stepbay I agreed with you, in part. The culture in which he was raised probably contributed to this horrible mess. Many have have also noted the appeal of Palin’s hit list to nut cases like this guy. Your comment about astronauts being oblivious to the violence on Earth was grossly inappropriate, insulting and disingenuous!

  10. This is a terrible tragedy and my heart and prayers go out to all those whose lives have been affected by this.

    Every time there is a gun related tragedy the anti-gun libs start hopping up and down about more gun conrtol laws it never fails. Guns don’t kill people people do. The current gun control laws are more than enough thank you. All gun control laws do is to make weapons less accessible to the law abiding public. Like a waiting period or more red tape would have deterred this guy? I can see how that would have gone down.

    “Well I was going to kill a public servant and some innocent bystanders today. But in order to do that I’d have to break the law and get a gun? Dang it! Those crafty liberals have foiled me again!”

    1. Largely works in Australia mate. After our last massacre (Port Arthur), we banned pretty much every gun that could be concealed, rapidly discharged, or that was high powered. The remainder need licenses under strict conditions, such as requiring them to be locked in a gun safe with ammunition in a separate location. As a result, gun crime has plummeted to near non-existence in comparison to most places in the world.

      Best thing we ever did. If I had my way, there wouldn’t be a gun in the country that wasn’t in the hand of a farmer or hunter.

      1. It’s been tried here, guns were basically illegal in Washington D.C. for over 40 years and it was a mainstay as one of the 5 most dangerous US cities.

        Now bear with me on this, if you look at murder and violent crime rates across all major US cities with a population over 250,000 you will see a remarkable trend. The states with the most gun control regulation, (California, New York, and D.C.) have among the highest instances of violent crime and homicide. Now take the states that have the least gun control regulation, (Arizona, Texas, and Alaska) are FAR safer places to live across the board. These rates are based on cases per 1,000 for all of calendar year 2009.

        Violent crimes:
        #4. California, Oakland
        #6. New York, Buffalo
        #9. California, Stockton
        #10. District of Columbia, Washington
        #17. Texas, Houston
        #29. Alaska, Anchorage
        #30. Texas, Corpus Christi
        #31. Texas, Dallas
        #41. Arizona, Tucson

        Murder and Manslaughter:
        #6. California, Oakland
        #7. District of Columbia, Washington
        #8. New York, Buffalo
        #19. Texas, Houston
        #20. Texas, Dallas
        #26. California, Stockton
        #32. California, Long Beach
        #33. California, Fresno
        #36. California, Bakersfield
        #37. California, Los Angeles
        #38. Arizona, Phoenix
        #54. Alaska, Anchorage*

        *There were 2 AZ, 2 TX, 3 CA, and 1 NY city omitted from the list between Phoenix and Anchorage.

        The trend continues for the whole country. It is a statement of fact that is the US you are far safer and far less likely to be killed or the victim of violence if you reside in a state that has less regulation on gun ownership.
        Please check them out for yourself at:

      2. You’ve basically just listed the most urban/populous areas in America and claimed that they are the more violent because of their stricter gun control. Urban/populous areas are ALWAYS more violent per capita than less densely populated regions. I’m sure that trend would be replicated in almost any country in the world.

        Anyway, with the sheer number of guns you have in circulation over there, you’re probably right – I don’t see any way back. I’m just happy knowing that the odds are practically 100% that nobody on the streets in my city could kill me from a distance if they lose the plot. But that’s just me.

      3. Readers here might like to read as an objective view by the Emeritus Professor, Rod Tiffen, of Sydney University, in the article; So much resentment in the land of alienated patriots.

        Here is quote the relative;

        “There is a strong correlation between the number of guns in a society and deaths resulting from them…. Although we should not leap to simple explanations, it is surely not a coincidence that the US has a homicide rate (6 per 100,000 population in 2004) more than four times higher than Australia’s (1.3) and 12 times higher than in Britain and Japan (0.5).”

        As for the changes in Australia in the death toll by firearms ;

        “…introduction of stronger gun laws after the Port Arthur massacre. In the five years to 1996 there were on average 81 firearms homicides in Australia each year; in the five years afterwards, the average was 53, and the most recent figure was 30, a historic low. Just as importantly, between 1991 and 1995 there were on average 446 suicides involving firearms a year; between 1998 and 2001 this was down to 239.”

        As this is statistical relevant, then it is reasonable to conclude Dav_Daddy claim that it makes no difference is likely false.

  11. Pima County’s Sheriff, Clarence Dupnik, said, “”horrendous, senseless, unbelieveable crime.” No doubt from his own +50 years experience, he talked brutally and honestly about the existence of increasing extremism and the verbosity and bombastic attitudes within the US. He certainly puts what happened here in a bone-chilling perspective, saying,

    “The anger, the hatred, the bigotry has gotten out of control,.. ‘Unfortunately, Arizona has become sort of the capital. This has become the Mecca for bigotry and prejudice. Pretty soon we’re not going to be able to get reasonable, decent people to serve in elected office in this country…”

    Sadly in many western countries, the same rise of this anti-culture is also occurring. There seems to be a ground swell against the sanctity of life, where innocent people are taken away on a whim. Decent human beings going about their everyday lives and some has the audacity to do something almost unspeakable.
    I have to 110% agree in Dupnik’s words that; “I hope that all Americans are as saddened and as shocked as we are.” (and this also applies outside the United States too.) You are not alone.

  12. Sounds like we / you we need a more noble zeroth law in the American Constitution (and in the constitutions of all other countries) ;

    “We the people, put as an inviolable oath, to uphold to defend the sanctity and decency of all natural-born human life above our own, to the extent that we accept we are prepared to sacrifice our own existence(s) for the sake of all humanity, without resorting to either harm or extinguish the live or lives against any or all of our fellow human beings.”

    If necessary, we need to drum this basic statement into every human from now on born on the Earth. Break it, and you permanently lose you rights as a human being! Extreme, yes, but it will put on notice that uncivilised behaviour by anyone will not be tolerated!

    1. No Crumb that oath isn’t for us. Look at who she was married to. Put Capt. Kelly or his brother Capt. Kelly in any of our fine navel aircraft and like the rest of us here become natural-born killers. We are a violent people and our laws and culture reflect this by way of giving offenders of violence with fire arms second chances to do it again at the same time we flood our streets with more guns.

      Also Arizona was different, as a kid I could go into any drug store and buy pistols and round. I don’t recall long guns, maybe didn’t have room under the counter.

      BTW: a dingo ate my baby and thanks for the howling series

    1. “Thou shall not kill” should be an absolute, not just a moral choice or used under one’s own prerogatives. These innocent individuals deserve much better!

      As the French say; “Des droites devraient être assurées par la constitution de l’état, mais également être moralement obligées par son ensemble des habitants.” I.e. Rights should be assured by the constitution of the State, but also morally obligated by its citizenry.

      Frankly. Egalitarianism cannot exist when you hide it behind what amounts to brutal unfettered barbarity.

  13. Lawrence,

    Why is it that the rhetoric always focuses the blame on the Right when things like this happen? The Left uses the same type of rhetoric, yet one never seems to hear any link to events like this.

    Our president has said, “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.” He has also said, “Argue With Them, Get In Their Face.” These statements are the same type of thuggery that you claim the right uses. Yet I have yet to see any comments on this from any of the media. The NY Times included Sarah Palin’s “hit list” in reporting the story of the shooting, but no mention of the DCCC’s target list or the DailyKoz hit list. Why is that?

    By selectively pinning your outrage, you are just showing that your feelings are more political than anything else. The shooter is a lunatic pure and simple. This isn’t a political tragedy, it is a tragedy for the nation.

    1. “This isn’t a political tragedy, it is a tragedy for the nation.”
      I disagree. It’s a tragedy of the continuing falling standards for respect for others. I.e. Me, me, me, and to go to hell with the rest of you!
      I here can only go on the facts, and Pima County’s Sheriff, Clarence Dupnik, seems the only one around making sense. If he believes there is an “existence of increasing extremism”, then I agree, because I see it all the time in the media and on the street — in this example and other presumed ‘civilised’ places throughout the world.
      Also mental illness can be used just as an easy convenient excuse, that can be manipulated as justification to explain and dissipate the outrage. All individuals do is look for the motive and not the deep underlying problems of the Society.
      Really. Killing several ordinary innocent people going about their business, then a 9-year-old child, a federal judge, and then seriously injuring a US House of Representative; certainly looks like an underlying social problem to me.

    2. I think Obama’s statement about a fight is more metaphorical than Palin showing Giffords’ picture in crosshairs. Sorry, but the hate rhetoric from the right has been on a crescendo for 20 years. When I was in high school and college none of this stuff was going on.

      Sorry, but when I see somebody prate on about far right winged stuff I see a talking form of hate.


      1. As I said, it is always “metaphorical” when it comes from the left. I am sure images like the ones here are metaphorical as well:

        The truth is that all political parties use that type of imagery and they have for a long time. The people that are looking to gain politically from this tragedy seem to be pointing out Palin’s map as evidence to a non-existant hate agenda from the right.

  14. There is rampant misinformation in US media. Big and the Powerful characters are trying there best to pump in propaganda in to our brain. 60% of Americans “believe” Obama is a foreigner! What does that tell you?

    “If everyone had a gun there will be no crime.” Are you serous? 100 years ago “EVERYONE” had gun in Wild Wild West. It must have been as peaceful as a haven there then. NO ONE was kill by gun! Right? People who bereave Gun as a salvation are not Americans. They don’t know the history. I don’t know where they came from.

    Media “do” brainwash people. I mean 99% of scientist knows global warming is taking place. But US media don’t report that. I wander why?

    1. That is about right. The “birther” stuff is a bed of lies, but it works and spreads the message that “He is not one of us.” The right winged media, in particular Faux News, has become a propaganda machine of lies that would make Goebbels envious.


  15. Lawrence B. Crowell wrote “Giffords was on Palin’s “hit list.”

    You’re blaming Sara Palin? You’re almost as big a wacko as the shooter. I suppose if someone shoots Sara Palin you’ll happy to step right up and take responsibility for the shooting due to YOUR political disagreements with her. That’s your line of logic. Don’t have much going on in the reason and rational thinking department, do you?

    1. I think the GOP will work to kill Palin’s political aspirations. This puts them in a sticky wicket, for they owe her a favor for the recent midterm election success. However, a good number of GOP ranking members see that she is a loose cannon, lacks the gravitas to become President and is probably not mentally stable. This will cause a riff with the Tea Party nutsos, but the Tea Party is likely to fade into the dark as do all of these highly emotionally charged populist movements. In 10 years the Tea Party will likely be little more than memory and history. Of course there will probably be some follow on “manic-panic” movement next decade or two.

      The liberals or Democrats don’t need to do anything to block Palin. The Republicans will do a perfectly good job of that on their own.

      The history of late is rather interesting. In the 1990s we saw the militia movement rise to popularity for a few years during Clinton’s administration. That faded away and last decade we saw a rise in the evangelical-fundamentalist movement during Bush’s years. That has faded, in part because the religious right’s disillusionment with the GOP and how Bush cynically exploited them. Now that Obama is in office we see a populist movement of a libertarian variety, similar in some ways to the militia movement in the 90s. When the Democrats are in the White House we tend to see populist movements that are highly charged over guns, states rights, nativism and even secessionism. When the Republicans are in the White House we tend to see populism of a religious nature. The Democrats are likely to be out of power by 2016, and I would not be surprised if we get another round of religious nonsense and efforts to promote creationism, religion in schools, extensions of faith based stuff (a Department of Faith anyone?) and so forth.

      There is nothing rational about American politics. The American public is extremely fickle. The other is the game is heavily manipulated by the financial and corporate powers which really own things. Obama got twice the campaign dollars McCain did, largely because the Dems are more likely to throw the Keynesian switches to keep the ownership class out of the boiling oil they created. Once that has been accomplished they are more than willing to bring the Reps back so they can roll back more regulations and the owners can engage in more of these games which got us into this trouble.

      It is beyond me that anyone takes this crap seriously. It is largely a choreographed game and “We the People” are largely spectators. The whole thing is a media form of the bread and circuses and coliseum games the Romans presented to keep the average knucklehead entertained.


  16. Hell. Senator John McCain said, who is the Republican of Arizona;
    “I am horrified by the violent attack on Representative Gabrielle Giffords and many other innocent people by a wicked person who has no sense of justice or compassion. I pray for Gabby and the other victims, and for the repose of the souls of the dead and comfort for their families…Whoever did this, whatever their reason, they are a disgrace to Arizona, this country and the human race.”

    Agree 110%. Frankly, I can’t stand the guy, but his words echo what I’ve already previously said!

    As for the political motivations here, in the end it will come out in the wash, so to speak.

    I’ve also noticed those of the US federal Government speaking out that they won’t be intimidated. Liberty, it seems, unlike some of the rhetoric in this thread, won’t be silenced by the filthy scum that should know better. It isn’t easy to stand up to the darkness when the gun is pointed directly at you. After this story has evolved, it might sent the message that true humanity is made of much sterner stuff!

    In this view, McCain got it perfectly right (and he should know considering what happen to him as a prisoner of war.)

  17. So your first reaction is to pull out your political soapboxes and bang your one note drum?

    1. Can we try talking about stuff like this without loading responses with obscure metaphors for once? Christ.

    2. If you are responding to me here?
      Perhaps I have got on my soapbox, however, what are you supposed to do in situations like it. Do you let this go too, until it happens again?

      What concerns me is if this person has something against this Congresswoman or the Judge, well there might be motive even though it is unacceptable by any civilised human being.

      However, how to you answer for a innocent 9 year old girl, born on the day of unspeakable indiscriminate violence during 9/11, and now is also killed by another almost unspeakable crime? What of her rights, and her loss of her own potential?

      If you are not outraged by such things, that is frankly not my problem. If you are hearing one note, perhaps your own paradigm needs to be reassessed.

  18. As usual.. well spoken! Freedom of speech is one thing but using it to inspire racial hatred or condoning violence is NOT ACCEPTABLE as part of that amendment! Those who USE our freedoms against us are the worst of the lot! Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin… all three of you are as guilty as the shooter and you too should be imprisoned for this heinous act of stupidity… that you inspired… idiots all!

  19. We wonder why UT doesn’t get many comments on the good articles within this blog. This discussion shows us why.


    Hon. Salacious B. Crumb
    Lawrence B. Crowell

    Suppressing conversation opportunities since I’ve started coming here. It’s just not worth it.

    1. Alan from Oregon (if I am correct)
      Interesting comments from one who so infrequently posts here.
      Much of the discussion here properly focusses on this crime against innocent people, and what to do about it. I’ve seem the news, I am just as outraged as anyone.
      If “this discussion shows us why”, then what is your point? As far as I see, no one here has suppressed anyone’s comments, including yours. Frankly, if you haven’t said anything here, then how can this be suppressed?
      Perhaps you should explain in more detail, so that both UT and those you name here might benefit from your point of view?

    2. Actually thinking about it… Are you using the word “suppress”, when you actually mean the word “intimidate”?

      1. You are not correct, Oregon is thousands of miles from here and the name isn’t Alan.

        Not intimidate, more like “not from my planet”, thus best left to the denizens that live there.

      2. Apologies for the name and place mix-up.
        Please, if you want to be critical or have suggestions for improvements, stop beating around the bush and get to your point. Few people these days have the time for endless riddles.
        If you want me to go away, then it will very likely not happen. If you make selected people effectively silenced by UT authors, it is very unlikely to happen. So your “conversation opportunities” will not change, because even if it did, someone else will always come along and fill in the vacuum. Either way, your broad complaint changes nothing.
        My advice, as said many times before; if you don’t like what I say, then don’t read it. ALso if you go away and don’t come back, then all UT and other commenters here just lose one person’s point of view. It is your choice!

        (I’m from Venus, BTW!)

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