Rep. Gabriel Giffords of Arizona announced in a video on her campaign website she intends to resign from Congress this week to concentrate on recovering from wounds suffered in an assassination attempt a little more than a year ago (see video embedded below).
Editorial Note – The video was removed from the AP news feed. We have updated it with Congresswoman Gifford's video directly from her site.
On January 8, 2011, 18 persons were shot at during a town-hall style event outside a Safeway grocery store in Tucson. Six of those shot died, including Arizona District Court Chief Judge John Roll, one of Rep. Giffords' staffers, and a nine-year-old child.
The gunman, Jared Lee Loughner, was found by a judge to be incompetent to stand trial based on two medical evaluations. He is to be reevaluated on January 25 and faces 49 charges.
In her video, Rep. Giffords says,
I don't remember much from that horrible day, but I will never forget the trust you placed in me to be your voice. Thank you for your prayers and for giving me time to recover. I have more work to do on my recovery, so to do what is best for Arizona, I will step down this week. I am getting better. Every day, my spirit is high. I will return and we will work together for Arizona and this great country. Thank you very much.
After the violence, some people immediately blamed Sarah Palin's "bulls eye" advertisements showing Democratic congresspeople in what appeared to be a rifle scope. Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church hatefully proclaimed, "Thank God for the violent shooter, one of your soldier heroes in Tucson. God appointed the Afghanistan veteran to avenge Himself on this evil nation." Nine days after the violence, Keith Olbermann summarized some of the divisive rhetoric: