National shock following Tucson rampage, Rep. Gabby Giffords fighting for her life

By Jon H. Harsch

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Washington, Jan. 9 - Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) remains in critical condition, fighting for her life, and the nation mourns Saturday's shooting death of federal Judge John Roll and five other victims. In response to the single gunman's attack on a Giffords public constituents' meeting in Tucson, AZ, leaders across the political spectrum are calling for calm and a cooling of political rhetoric.

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Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ)

Among the responses, the new House Speaker, John Boehner (R-OH) said “An attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve.” Additionally, the House Republican leadership has suspended plans to debate and vote this week on repealing the administration's new healthcare law. Instead, the House will focus congressional action on potential responses to the Arizona tragedy such as beefing up security for members of Congress.

Typical of congressional reaction to the shooting of Giffords and others at her public meeting, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) commented that “This is a sad day for our country, and acts of senseless violence such as this one affect us all.” Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) said on CNN's State of the Union broadcast Sunday that “We live in a world of violent images and violent words, but those of us in public life . . . owe it to our own in both political parties to at least have the good sense and common decency . . . to say, 'Wait a minute that just goes too far,' whether it's from the right or the left.”

Also on CNN, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said “We ought to cool it, tone it down, treat each other with great respect . . . Do our best not to inflame passions.” Along with others, Alexander also pointed out that the shooter now in FBI custody, 22-year-old “loner” Jared Lee Loughner, appears to be a mentally unbalanced individual who “was reading Karl Marx, and reading Hitler, and burning the American flag. That's not the profile of a typical tea party member if that's the inference that's being made.”

The U.S. Attorney in Arizona has filed a five-count complaint against Loughner, including charges of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder.

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