Rep. Sandy Adams, R-Orlando, former Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, and Florida’s other congressional representatives weighed in today on the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz.
In a press release, Adams said she was “horrified” by the “senseless attack,” while Grayson offered a personal account of his friendship with the congresswoman, and closed with these two paragraphs:
I know nothing about the man who shot Gabby, and what was going through his mind when he did this. But I will tell you this — if he shot Gabby out of hatred, then it wasn’t Gabby he was shooting, but rather some cartoon version of her, drawn by her political opposition. Because there is no way – no way — that anyone who really knows Gabby could hate her or hurt her. She is a kind, gentle soul.
My heart goes out to Mark Kelly, Gabby’s husband, and the many, many people who love her. Gabby, we don’t want to lose you. Please stay here with us.
The Miami Herald has a full accounting of how Florida’s congressional delegation responded to news of the Giffords shooting here.
Much of the immediate reaction to the news of Giffords’ shooting has centered around the incident’s relation to violent political rhetoric. The New York Times writes:
While the exact motivations of the suspect in the shootings remained unclear, an Internet site tied to the man, Jared Loughner, contained antigovernment ramblings. And regardless of what led to the episode, it quickly focused attention on the degree to which inflammatory language, threats and implicit instigations to violence have become a steady undercurrent in the nation’s political culture.
Among the comments compiled by the Herald are these from Rep. Allen West, R-Fort Lauderdale:
The prayers of myself, my family, and my staff go out to the family of Congresswoman Giffords, her staff, and the constituents of the Eighth Congressional District of Arizona. The United State House of Representatives and all Americans are praying for these faithful servants to our Republic.
Shortly after winning his November election, West became entangled in a controversy over his ties to violent political rhetoric, when he hired right-wing talk radio host Joyce Kaufman as his chief of staff. During a 2010 rally, Kaufman said this:
I am convinced that the important thing the Founding Fathers did to ensure my First Amendment rights was that they gave me a Second Amendment. And if ballots don’t work, bullets will. I’ve never in my life thought that the day would come that I would tell individual citizens that you are responsible for being the militia that the founding fathers designed — they were very specific. You need to be prepared to fight tyranny: whether it comes from outside or it comes from inside.
Kaufman resigned after widespread outrage over her comments, but West defended her statements as recently as last weekend, telling Fox News Sunday the controversy stemmed from mere “sound biting.” West also added that Kaufman helped select his choice for her replacement.