Â News Editor
On January 8, early in the afternoon, a man opened fire on a crowd gathered for a political meeting with Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D, AZ) in a Safeway parking lot. Six people were killed and 20 were injured during the rampage. Congresswoman Giffords was taken to a local hospital where she is still in critical condition suffering from traumatic brain injuries. The shooter was identified as 21-year-old Jared Lee Loughner. Loughner appears to have acted alone and his motives for the shooting are not completely clear.
Â Among the victims were citizens and staff members of Representative Gifford.Â Federal Judge John Roll, who served on the Ninth Circuit Federal Court, was one of the victims. Roll had been serving the legal system for 40 years and was liked by both Republicans and Democrats alike. Christina Taylor Green was another victim. She was nine years old, a straight “A” student, little league baseball player, and served on her student council.Â
Â After the story broke, blame surfaced in many areas ranging from debate over gun safety laws, Arizona’s poorly rated mental health facilities, and even what some called the “vitriolic” rhetoric from both sides of the aisle. After the shooting, congress immediately cancelled all votes for the week and various political leaders sent their condolences to the victims and their families.Â
Â President Obama gave a eulogy and sent a message to the nation last Wed. to tone down the political rhetoric. The speech was regarded as a success by both sides of the political spectrum. Â
Â “But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized – at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do – it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds,” President Obama said.
Â The condition of Representative Giffords is getting better. After her surgery, her doctors said they remained optimistic about her ability for recovery. During the speech, Obama said that he, and other congressional members, visited Giffords in the hospital and claimed she opened her eyes for the first time while they were there.Â
Â Loughner still remains in federal custody. He was formally charged with the murder of the victims, the attempted assaults on others, and could potentially face the death penalty if convicted. Loughner left community college and many claim that he was a mentally unstable individual.Â
Â The debate will still continue about whether political blame could be associated with the tragedy, but no evidence has been found so far to support such claim. One RC student just sees it as a tragedy and does not want it to be used for political gain.
“It should not be made political,” said Daniel Ballou ’13.