Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and several of her constituents were gunned down at a meet-and-greet event being held at a Tucson, Arizona supermarket. Six people died and Rep. Giffords is in critical condition at an Arizona hospital after being shot in the head at close range.
Two men on the scene tackled the shooter, who has been identified as 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner. The suspect is in custody but has so far refused to cooperate with police questioning.
President Obama quickly issued a statement condemning the attack and offering condolences to the families of those killed and injured. He called the shooting an "unspeakable act" and said many details about the shooting were yet unknown, including the gunman's motive.
The President called for a national moment of silence at 11 A.M. ET on Monday to remember the victims. Congressional representatives also put on hold all political business, including a controversial House vote on the repeal of the health care bill, stating that bitter partisan politics needed to be put aside at a time when a public servant is fighting for her life.
"Gabby Giffords was a friend of mine. She is not only an extraordinary public servant, but she is also somebody who is warm and caring. She is well liked by her colleagues and well liked by her consitituents." - President Obama
"It's not surprising that today, Gabby was doing what she always does: listening to the hopes and concerns of her neighbors." - President Obama
1. What is a political assassination?
2. Why might a member of Congress be a target for violence?
3. What is public service? Why do people decide to be public servants?
1. Can you give examples of other political assassinations or assassination attempts? What motivated the perpetrator in each case?
2. What do you think could have prompted the shooter in this case to commit such an act?
3. Why do you think members of Congress decided to postpone political business? How do you think this tragedy will affect politics and political discourse? Do you think that effect will last?
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