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Republican Extreme Rhetoric Incites Prejudice, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords Shot in Arizona

'Extreme rhetoric incites prejudice'

Press TV, Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:7AM

 Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin Extreme rhetoric such as that voiced by the US Tea Party movement may incite people to act upon their prejudices, says an American politician.

“People like Sarah Palin, who really talk in violent terms, the words they use in the campaigns, which are excessive, really land on a person, who is unstable and maybe someone insane, and they act upon these words,” former US Senator Mike Gravel told Press TV in a Sunday interview.

“And of course, we have got guns galore, particularly in Arizona, which is a very gun-minded state, and so, they have access to all kinds of guns, and they act upon their prejudices, that have been animated by the rhetoric of the campaign, the extreme rhetoric, put forth by the Tea Party types,” Gravel added.

The Tea Party movement is a reference to the Boston Tea Party of 1773, in which American colonists protested British government policies, such as taxation without representation.

The recent movement, which largely supports tax and spending cuts, was started to protest a series of governmental bailouts and healthcare reform bills.

On Saturday, US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head outside a grocery store in Tucson, in a shooting spree that left six people killed.

Among the dead were a nine-year-old child and a senior US district judge. Eighteen others were injured in the incident.

Twenty two-year-old Jared Lee Loughner was taken into custody after being restrained by people in the crowd after the shooting.

In a separate incident on Sunday, a police officer and a civilian were killed and four others injured in an exchange of gunfire as a fight at a Baltimore nightclub spilled onto the street.


US shooting suspect faces 5 charges

Press TV, Mon Jan 10, 2011 1:29AM

 Candles surround portraits of federal judge John Roll and US lawmaker Gabrielle Giffords, who were shot on January 8, in Tuscon, Arizona. The main suspect in a shooting spree that killed six people and wounded a congresswoman in Arizona has been charged with five criminal counts, including attempted murder.

The 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner, who is accused of shooting Arizona lawmaker Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson on Saturday, faces one count of attempted murder; two counts of killing an officer and two counts of attempted killing of an officer of the US, Reuters reported on Sunday.

Six people, including a nine-year-old child and a senior US district judge were killed and 18 others were wounded in the incident, which took place outside a grocery store in Tucson.

Loughner is "suspected of shooting US Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Chief Judge John Roll, Giffords' staff member Gabriel Zimmerman and approximately 16 others Saturday in Tucson," US district attorney for Arizona Dennis K. Burke said.

Burke further noted that the culprit will make an initial appearance in court in Phoenix on Monday. The court appearance will set dates for a preliminary hearing and a detention hearing.

According to the US Justice Department, the charges against the suspected murderer were filed in US federal court on Sunday.

Giffords, 40, was re-elected to her third term last November. Her Tucson office had been vandalized in March a few hours after the House approved the new healthcare law.

US President Barack Obama in a statement called the attack an "unspeakable tragedy," saying that "while we are continuing to receive information, we know that some have passed away, and that Representative Giffords is gravely wounded."

Meanwhile, medics said on Sunday that the US lawmaker remains in critical condition but shows positive signs.

Giffords was in a medically-induced coma, but could respond to basic verbal commands, said doctors at the University of Arizona Medical Center.

The doctors also spoke optimistically about her chances of survival.


Congresswoman shot, 6 killed in Arizona

Press TV, Sat Jan 8, 2011 10:43PM

 US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona has been shot in the head outside a grocery store in Tucson and six people have been killed in the shooting incident.

On Saturday, up to 20 continuous shots were heard at the scene of the incident, where Giffords was greeting her constituents, AP reported.

The surgeon who operated on Giffords said he was "optimistic" the Democratic Congresswoman would recover.

Six people were killed in the incident and 18 were injured.

A nine-year-old child and a senior U.S. District judge were among the dead.

Congressional officials say one of the people killed was a Giffords' aide.

A 22-year-old man was taken into custody after being restrained by people in the crowd after the shooting.

U.S. Capitol police, who spoke on condition of anonymity, say the assailant launched the attack with an automatic weapon.

“I am horrified by the senseless attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and members of her staff,” newly elected House Speaker John Boehner said.

“This is a sad day for our country,” he added.

The FBI and local law enforcement officials are investigating the attack.

Giffords, 40, was re-elected to her third term last November. Her Tucson office had been vandalized in March, a few hours after the House approved the new health care law.

US President Barack Obama called the attack an "unspeakable tragedy," saying in a statement that "while we are continuing to receive information, we know that some have passed away, and that Representative Giffords is gravely wounded."


Sheriff says Ariz. rampage suspect not cooperating

By JACQUES BILLEAUD Associated Press

Jan 10, 2011, 8:51 AM EST


A 22-year-old man described as a social outcast with wild beliefs steeped in mistrust faces a federal court hearing on charges he tried to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in a Tucson shooting rampage that left six people dead.

Public defenders are asking that the attorney who defended Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Timothy McVeigh and "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski defend Jared Loughner, who makes his first court appearance Monday at 2 p.m. MST (4 p.m. EST).

Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said Loughner was not cooperating and told ABC's "Good Morning America" the suspect had said "not a word" to investigators. Dupnik said authorities were all but certain Loughner acted alone, saying "he's a typical troubled individual who's a loner."

The hearing in Phoenix comes just a few hours after President Barack Obama leads a shocked and saddened nation in a moment of silence for the victims and their families. Obama will observe the moment of silence at 11 a.m. EST with White House staff on the South Lawn.

As authorities filed the charges against Loughner Sunday, they alleged he scrawled on an envelope the words "my assassination" and "Giffords" sometime before he took a cab to a shopping center where the congresswoman was meeting with constituents Saturday morning.

A federal judge, a congressional aide and a young girl were among the six people killed, while Giffords and 13 others were injured in the bursts of gunfire outside a Tucson supermarket.

Giffords, 40, lay in intensive care at a Tucson hospital, after being shot in the head at close range. Doctors said she had responded repeatedly to commands to stick out her two fingers, giving them hope she may survive.

Neurosurgeon De. Michael LeMole of Tucson's University Medical Center, appearing Monday on CBS's "The Early Show," said, "the best way to describe her this morning is that she's holding her own."

LeMole said he removed a portion of her skull in order to perform the surgery but likely will replace it at some point.

"We don't close the book on recovery for years," he said, "so it'll take as long as it takes. I think the real question will be how long it will take before she's out of the woods."

About 200 people gathered outside Giffords' Tucson office Sunday evening for a candlelight vigil. Earlier in the day, people crammed the synagogue where Giffords has been a member, as well as the Mountain Avenue Church of Christ, which lost one member in the attack and saw another one wounded.

"I don't know how to grieve. This morning I don't have the magic pill, I don't have the Scripture... I can't wrap my head around this," said the church's Rev. Mike Nowak, his strong preacher's voice wavering.

Authorities weren't saying late Sunday where Loughner was being held, and officials were working to appoint an attorney for him. Heather Williams, the first assistant federal public defender in Arizona, said they're asking that San Diego attorney Judy Clarke be appointed.

Clarke, a former federal public defender in San Diego and Spokane, Wash., served on teams that defended McVeigh, Kaczynski and Susan Smith, a South Carolina woman who drowned her two sons in 1994.

Loughner is charged with one count of attempted assassination of a member of Congress, two counts of killing an employee of the federal government and two counts of attempting to kill a federal employee. More charges are expected.

Discoveries at Loughner's home in southern Arizona, where he lived with his parents in a middle-class neighborhood lined with desert landscaping and palm trees, have provided few answers to what motivated him.

Court papers filed with the charges said he had previous contact with Giffords. The documents said he had received a letter from the Democratic lawmaker in which she thanked him for attending a "Congress on your Corner" event at a mall in Tucson in 2007.

Investigators carrying out a search warrant at his parents' home in a middle-class neighborhood found an envelope in a safe with the words "I planned ahead," "My assassination" and the name "Giffords" next to what appears to be his signature.

Neighbors said Loughner kept to himself and was often seen walking his dog, almost always wearing a hooded sweat shirt and listening to his iPod.

Comments from friends and former classmates bolstered by Loughner's own Internet postings have painted a picture of a social outcast with almost indecipherable beliefs steeped in mistrust and paranoia.

"If you call me a terrorist then the argument to call me a terrorist is Ad hominem," he wrote Dec. 15 in a wide-ranging posting.

Two high school friends said they had fallen out of touch with Loughner and last spoke to him around March, when one of them was going to set up some bottles in the desert for target practice and Loughner suggested he might come along. It was unusual - Loughner hadn't expressed an interest in guns before - and his increasingly confrontational behavior was pushing them apart. He would send bizarre text messages, but also break off contact for weeks on end.

"We just started getting sketched out about him," the friend said.

Around the same time, Loughner's behavior also began to worry officials at Pima Community College, where Loughner began attending classes in 2005, the school said in a release.

Between February and September, Loughner "had five contacts with PCC police for classroom and library disruptions," the statement said. He was suspended in September after college police discovered a YouTube video in which Loughner claimed the college was illegal according to the U.S. Constitution.

He withdrew voluntarily the following month, and was told he could return only if, among other things, a mental health professional agreed he did not present a danger, the school said.

Police said he purchased the Glock pistol used in the attack at Sportsman's Warehouse in Tucson in November.

An official familiar with the shooting investigation said Sunday that local authorities were looking at a possible connection between Loughner and an online group known for white supremacist, anti-immigrant rhetoric.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation, said local authorities were examining the American Renaissance website for possible motives.

The group's leaders said in a posting on their website that Loughner never subscribed to their magazine, registered for any of the group's conferences or visited their Internet site.

Giffords, a conservative Democrat re-elected in November, faced threats and heckling over her support for immigration reform and the health care overhaul. Her office was vandalized the day the House approved the landmark health care measure.

It was not clear whether those issues motivated the shooter to fire on the crowd gathered to meet Giffords.

The six killed included U.S. District Judge John Roll, 63, and 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, who was born on Sept. 11, 2001, and was featured in a book called "Faces of Hope" that chronicled one baby from each state born on the day terrorists killed nearly 3,000 people.

The author, Christine Naman, said: "Tragedy seems to have happened again."

Green was recently elected as a student council member and went to the morning's event because of her interest in government.

Others killed were Giffords aide Gabe Zimmerman, 30; Dorothy Morris, 76; Dorwin Stoddard, 76; and Phyllis Schneck, 79.


Associated Press writers Pauline Arrillaga, Raquel Maria Dillon, Justin Pritchard, Terry Tang in Tucson, Sophia Tareen in Chicago and Eileen Sullivan in Washington contributed to this report.

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