The last time I recall a sitting member of Congress being gunned down was 1978 when Leo Ryan of California was shot while investigating the Jim Jones People's Temple in Guyana. It was the opening to an ugly series of events, namely the mass suicide of Jones' followers in the jungle.
As of now it is not known if Rep. Gabrielle Giffords D-Ariz is dead or alive after being shot in the head while meeting with her constituents at home in her district earlier this morning. While someone is in custody, it is unknown what that person's motivation was.
While it is too early to draw conclusions it should be of high interest that Giffords' office was vandalized shortly after her vote for the Patent Protection Act. In a subsequent MSNBC interview Giffords was asked about the political atmosphere and if it was or was not indicative of real danger. Here is that interview.
In spite of some of the reports I am hopeful that Rep. Giffords and all other victims of this attack recover.
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