Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and Staff Shot at Event

Awful news from Tuscson, Arizona, where Democratic congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was just shot at point-blank range, along with at least six of her staffers, at a town hall event. Given the lack of details, one shouldn't jump to any conclusions, but this is exactly the sort of tragedy that so many people have privately (and some openly) been worrying about, as anger has increasingly suffused our national politics. I could be mistaken, but I believe Rep. Giffords was among those whose offices were vandalized during last fall's campaign. Few details yet on Gifffords's condition, that of her staff, the shooter or a possible motive. Here's hoping that this turns out not to be a politically motivated event, and that this terrible news doesn't get any worse.

Update: More details at National Journal and from The Atlantic's Garance Franke-Ruta.

Later Update: Truly sad: NPR reports that Rep. Giffords has died (Update: Reuters is reporting that she's alive). Condolences to her family and those of the six staffer also shot. I believe she is the first member congress to be assassinated since Leo Ryan, the Democratic congressman from California who died in the Jonestown Massacre in 1978.

Later Update: According to this eyewitness report, the gunman was tackled by a member of Giffords's staff.

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Joshua Green is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

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