A remarkable breadth of friends and well-wishers is reacting to Saturday’s attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, in which the Democrat was shot at close range at an event in her Tucson, Ariz., district.
The shooting prompted an outpouring not only from Democrats including the likes of President Obama and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, but also from others, as well, particularly those in the science and technology communities.
A gunman, reportedly identified as Jared Loughner, fired on Giffords and more than a dozen others during a planned outdoor event. Giffords survived surgery, but others died in the attack, including at least one child, and federal Judge John Roll.
Giffords, 40, had just begun her third term in Congress, where she had begun to carve out a leadership role in science and technology policy. Her husband is a Navy pilot and astronaut. Giffords herself had served as a subcommittee chairwoman on the House Science and Technology Committee before the Republican House takeover this week.
“We at NASA are deeply shocked and saddened by the senseless shooting of Representative Giffords and others at Saturday’s public event in Tucson. As a long-time supporter of NASA, Representative Giffords not only has made lasting contributions to our country, but is a strong advocate for the nation’s space program and a member of the NASA family,” says NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “She also is a personal friend with whom I have had the great honor of working. We at NASA mourn this tragedy and our thoughts and prayers go out to Congresswoman Giffords, her husband Mark Kelly, their family, and the families and friends of all who perished or were injured in this terrible tragedy.”
Condemnation of the attack crossed party lines, as Republican House Speaker John Boehner quickly denounced the crime.
“I am horrified by the senseless attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and members of her staff. An attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve. Acts and threats of violence against public officials have no place in our society,” Boehner says. “Our prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords, her staff, all who were injured, and their families. This is a sad day for our country.”
Among others expressing their support, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis — herself a former member of Congress — also released a statement regarding the shooting.
“I met Gabby before she entered Congress and had the pleasure of serving with her in the House of Representatives. I have seen Gabby at her very best — doing what she does best — when I was with her and Rep. Raul Grijalva in Tucson last year participating in an event celebrating our nation’s veterans. She is deeply committed to her constituents and her country, and I’m hopeful she’ll recover from this senseless act,” Solis says. “As President Obama noted, this is an unspeakable tragedy. As the facts from this situation unfold, I ask that all Americans keep the victims of this tragedy, and their families, in their thoughts and prayers,” she adds.
The publisher of the news site On The Hill, Scott Nance has covered Congress and the federal government for more than a decade.