In The Cross-hairs
(Picture found here.)
Yesterday, Arizona Congresswoman Gabriel Giffords made her last appearance at the House of Representatives. According to all accounts, it was an emotional occasion.
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords returned to the House floor one final time as her colleagues approved her bipartisan border security bill on the day she officially stepped down from office.
Friends have said the Arizona Democrat has never been one to tackle her goals halfway. It was fitting, then, that she closed out her career with a legislative victory.
The day was bittersweet as emotional colleagues said farewell to the well-liked congresswoman, described by Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) as an "extraordinary daughter of this House," who announced she would step down this week to focus on her recovery.
House Speaker Boehner accepted her formal letter of resignation with tears in his eyes, although that in itself in not unusual. The accolades from both sides of the aisle were, however, unusual, especially for this Congress. It's clear that Rep. Giffords was indeed well-liked and well-respected, no mean feat in the bitterly partisan 112th Congress.
Giffords, who suffered massive head injuries in a shooting by a crazed young man, might have been better honored if her colleagues had been so moved by the atrocity that they passed some stronger gun and ammunition laws. Alas, they were obviously not that distraught. After all, that would be tampering with the will of the NRA.
Ironically, on the day that the Giffords appearance was taking place at the nation's capital, another appearance took place in Missouri's:
Just hours before Giffords made her way into the nation's Capitol, an unknown provocateur was stalking the halls of the Missouri Capitol, tagging the doors of lawmakers—most of them Democratic women—with images of rifle crosshairs.
The picture which heads this post shows the stickers in question. The stickers are more than a little reminiscent of the symbol used by Sarah Palin in targeting incumbents up for re-election in 2010.
Palin and other conservatives strongly rejected the notion that their imagery and rhetoric had anything to do with the bloodbath in Arizona a year ago. And no one can know what was truly in the deranged mind of Jared Loughner. But common sense says that when enough targeted political vitriol mixes with enough guns, bad things will eventually happen.
Exactly so, especially when the mood of the entire electorate is sour beyond belief. It's clear that we are in for some hard times.