The mass shooting at the GOP congressional baseball practice in Virginia stirred the tragic memories of the 2011 assassination attempt of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, when gunman Jared Loughner shot the Democrat in the head, leaving her severely wounded during a public meeting with her constituents in Tucson, Arizona. Six people died in the attack.
Following the shooting in Alexandria, which left Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise critically wounded and sent lawmakers and staffers scrambling for safety amid gunfire, Giffords released a heart touching statement in sympathy of her former colleagues.
She also praised the Capitol Police, who provided security for the practice and engaged the shooter, for their bravery and quick action — but some people were apparently offended by that.
My heart is with my former colleagues, their families & staff, and the US Capitol Police- public servants and heroes today and every day.— Gabrielle Giffords (@GabbyGiffords) June 14, 2017
Giffords, a prominent gun control advocate, also issued a statement through her political action committee Americans for Responsible Solutions.
May we all come together with prayers for the survivors, love for their friends and family, and the courage to make this country its best. pic.twitter.com/2CIOnOh2su— Gabrielle Giffords (@GabbyGiffords) June 14, 2017
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat or a Republican, nor if you’re a senator or a representative, nor a staffer or a sworn officer. If you serve the institution of Congress, you’re connected to your colleagues, current and former, by a shared sense of service to ideals far greater than yourself. This shooting is an attack on all who serve and on all who participate in our democracy,” she wrote. “I am heartbroken for the pain of Congressman Scalise, the other victims, and their family, friends and colleagues who survived. I am thankful for the great courage of the Capitol Police, who were my protectors after I was shot and became my friends. I also know the courage it takes to recover from a shooting like this, and I know Steve and everyone there this morning have such courage in great supply.”
Many social media users commended Giffords on Twitter.
This is the right way to respond to such a heinous act. Proud of you and how strong you have been.— Chris Ridings (@cridings1) June 14, 2017
Coming from former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, a gunshot victim and Democrat, this means a lot. https://t.co/gPr2r7r9IW— Joe Sapia (@JosephSapia) June 15, 2017
MS Gifford you are amazing and write are grateful for your courage and strength.— hopeful (@Elaine39943705) June 15, 2017
God bless your loving heart, Gabby, and your words of wisdom.— Louise R Fitzgerald (@Louise212nyc2) June 15, 2017
Some, on the other hand, reacted to her message of love with hatred and vitriol.
BS, you probably staged this for another gun-grab attempt. Sorry, TRAITOR, it's NOT going to work.— Marv L Shedley (@MarvLSOne) June 14, 2017
Here we go with the anti #2A crap again.— Zzopit???????? (@zzopit) June 14, 2017
People like you enable this by trying to ban legal firearms go F yourself— Chris Dumas (@DACHIBEAR85) June 14, 2017
Why don't you blame all these democrats who are stirring their crazies up, this is their fault! This is what HATE does!— Melanie Turtletaub (@MelTurtletaub) June 14, 2017
The shooting in Virginia was the 153rd mass shooting of the year. Hours later, the 154th unfolded in San Francisco, stirring the gun control debate — yet again — in the United States.