On January 8, 2011, then-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot outside a grocery store in Tuscon, Arizona, where she was meeting with constituents. The shooting killed six and left 13 injured, including the Congresswoman.
Fast forward seven years. There’s now a memorial in the works by the “January 8th Foundation,” which has raised over $5 million in the last past few years.
To help with the efforts, the Arizona House of Representatives passed a bill which would provide an additional $2.5 million state funding to help make the memorial a reality. The only hitch? The State Senate has never had the bill come before them, something U.S. Representative Ron Barber says has become political.
“I’m really concerned that people who wanted to stop this memorial from being funded in the Senate decided to politicize it. And it’s not political, but that’s what they made it,” Barber told the Associated Press.
Don’t get me wrong, I think what happened on that day is tragic and it should never happen again but it’s very ironic to say the State Senate is making a political issue out of nothing. As soon as Congresswoman Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, stepped out into the limelight and used their recourses to call for gun control, they turned a tragic accident into a political hotbed. They used what happened to Giffords as a means of promoting their own political agenda. They politicized the event…and once you go down that road, there’s no coming back.
When Giffords and Kelly created the Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC and decided to get involved in the gun control debate, they brought the victims of that tragic day with them. Giffords has used what happened that day to really launch herself in national politics, especially around the issue of gun ownership and “common sense solutions” to gun ownership (AKA gun control).
Before people like Congressman Barber blame the Arizona Senate for not providing funding for the memorial, maybe he should sit back and think about the actions Congresswoman Giffords has taken and the impact those actions have had on everyone and not just herself.