Lights in the Darkness

Stinque correspondent Jamie Sommers reports from the Phoenix candlelight vigil for victims of Saturday’s Tucson shooting.

It’s difficult to tell from the pictures but there were about 200 people there, mostly Democrats and local activists. I got there kinda late so I missed the first round of introductory remarks. The person I did see (Dem Party Chair Don Bivens) was mostly drowned out by some nutjob (haven’t we had enough of them today) calling Russell Pearce, Jan Brewer and “the White House” a bunch of thugs who are responsible for today’s murders. From what I could hear, his remarks were pretty generic “hearts and prayers go out to the families of the victims” type stuff. That was followed by the bagpipe player. Thankfully, the asshole nutjob shut his pie hole during that.

I saw a member of Code Pink in the crowd, as well as a former Phoenix City Councilman who is running for mayor. Rep. Harry Mitchell was there. You can see the top of his head in one picture. There were a couple of state judges and lobbyists, including the Sierra Club lobbyist. I recognized only one Republican — Alfredo Gutier. He’s a longtime player in AZGOP politics and currently holds a political appointee position in the Arizona Department of Public Safety. Speaking of cops, I saw Capitol Police, DPS, and PPD present.

I’m told the event was organized beginning around 4pm by Democratic Party officials and tweeted around until picked up by the Republic. Except for that one asshole (and my later argument with a neighbor), the most was reverent and somber. A lot of nice people there but once my neighbor started in with the uber-political rhetoric, I kinda went off on him. After the formal remarks ended, some hippies started a drum and incense circle. I took a picture of that because no Arizona rally is complete without some form of cultural appropriation.


I love you, Jamie. I really do.

Thanks, nojo.

I want to add that the light on the left corner of the top floor of the tower behind the old Capitol building is the Governor’s office. Oh, and I didn’t send the picture with Harry Mitchell’s toupee on it.

But I do have a link to an old campaign commercial where he put Foghorn Leghorn in crosshairs. I just remembered that while listening to Keith say that Democrats almost never do something like that.

@TJ/ Jamie Sommers /TJ: Thanks, doll, for doing this.

And now we know the 9-year-old girl was named Christina Green, she lived in the neighborhood of the Safeway and she had just been elected to her elementary school student council, so a neighbor thought she’d want to come meet her congresswoman. Christina did ballet and played baseball.

Again, weirdly enough, the iTunes on random are playing Springsteen’s “The Rising” – I think I need another drink.

@SanFranLefty: Jesus Fucking Christ.

Once again: You don’t get happy endings with a story like this, but the tragedies are spreading like shockwaves.

@SanFranLefty: More on Christina from the Tucson paper, where my boy Hipolito is the city editor running the show tonight. I worked with him when he was a mere intern en ‘Burque.

Blog post of the day:

Posted at 9:13 AM ET, 01/ 8/2011

Open Thread

By Greg Sargent

I have to get a tooth pulled today. Should be a nice break from following politics.

The Tucson vigil had to be moved because of a suspicious package at the scene.

@FlyingChainSaw: I wish to God I were. They had to move 150+ people across the street while they checked out the package.

Here’s an article on another victim.

All I can think of right now is the phrase “second amendment remedies.”

The right has been egging this sort of thing on for two years now. I can’t verbalize just how despicable those people are.

TPM gets ahead of itself:

A leader of a Tucson-area tea party group condemned the mass shooting in Arizona that included Rep. Gabriel Giffords (D-AZ), but told TPM that this doesn’t mean her group is going to tone down their rhetoric: “I think anytime you start suppressing freedom of speech, I think it’s wrong. I live here and I didn’t hear anything [in the 2010 campaign] that concerned me in terms of inciting violence.”

Nowhere in the article are there examples of Tucson Teabagger language that the reporters insinuate require an apology.

Just one of those sad things?

The Talibunny FaceBook page is overwhelmed with defensive crap from Talibunny cultists.

Interesting that her Death List and Kill Map had nothing to do with the climate of psychopathic rage that emerged on the right and that she and her cultists should think there is any reason to address the Giffords assassination attempt at all.

Postings and comments are running into the thousands though deletions outnumber everything as the cultists work feverishly to yank the blood-on-your-hands accusations.

I’m chilled to the bone.

Huffpo has pictures of the fucking kid if you want to look. I’m not going to link.

@TJ/ Jamie Sommers /TJ: I sure as hell hope that Grijalva has a good security detail on him, since he was even more hated in the election rhetoric than Gabby was.

@SanFranLefty: Christina.

You know, here we had a politician actually doing her job — meeting everyday people, talking with them, acknowledging that she represented them by spending a Saturday at a fucking supermarket instead of on the golf course or at a spa. People came to support her, to meet her, to air grievances, to ask questions — stuff we don’t normally get to do face to face — and Giffords and all these folks trying to actually participate in our so-called representative government were mowed down.

When my son was nine, I took him to San Jose to see Bubba. We waited for a couple of hours in a line that stretched around the block in the hot ass sun after walking about a mile from where we parked. Once in, we were stuck in a mob, but when Bubba worked the rope line, my kid was on my shoulders reaching and leaning to shake Bubba’s hand. He barely missed touching him by six inches.

When we were walking back to the car, the presidential caravan, or whatever it’s called, drove by. We stopped, waved, and Bubba waved at us. It’s a nice memory.

I can’t imagine how I would have felt had something happened to my kid when I was just trying to give him an experience, memories, maybe some hope or something, or even just a day off from school. Poor Christina. Poor family. Poor neighbor who took her.

We just go along and try to enrich our lives and others in meaningful ways, even if those ways seem silly sometimes. We try to raise our kids to be engaged in the world in such a way that sometimes they won’t be selfish and crappy and will see that the world doesn’t revolve around them but that everything that happens to other people in the world does affect them.

In Torts, we talked a lot about duty. I always wanted to ask if the courts would ever recognize that we have a duty to each other simply because we’re human, but I was too shy to ask the professor. I know what the answer would have been, but wish I had said something.

@Tommmcatt is with Karin Marie on This One: Oh for Chrissake, HuffPo says that little girl was born on 9/11. Can’t be true.

@JNOV: That’s what tore my heart open. Because you know me, I’m such a fucking nerd wonk, that if the 9 year old girl who lives across the street from me was elected 4th grade class treasurer, I’d totally be like “Let’s go see a female in Congress and she can tell you about how cool it is to be smart and be involved in politics.” Seriously, I am that neighbor. And I would do it, and totally encourage my little 9 year old neighbor to think of Gabby Giffords as a role model instead of Kim Kardashian.
And then to think of that horrific shit happening. Jesus. Jesus Fucking Christ.

Will wonders never cease. Rev. Sharpton is the voice of reason, asking people not to speculate.

Well, maybe not so surprising considering he’s on a show with Geraldo Rivera and Foghorn Leghorn.

@SanFranLefty: I was thinking the same thing: Fuck, to be the nice neighbor…

And, to address the Lurking Question raised (I think) by Dodger: I don’t think the madness stops until the teabaggers take out one of their own for not being extreme enough. No Joseph Welch moments today.

@SanFranLefty: Me, too. That poor, poor woman. If she survived, I’m sure she wishes she were dead.


I see that Sarah Palin has called the shooting “tragic”. OK, a bit of history: right-wingers went wild over anyone who called 9/11 a tragedy, insisting that it wasn’t a tragedy, it was an atrocity.

@SanFranLefty: Whenever I read that a recently deceased person is called a really nice person that everyone liked, I think either 1) they’re lying; someone hate that dude or 2) it’s a good thing I’m such an asshole; I’m gonna live forever.

So, East Coasters: Is SNL still on tonight?

CNN apologizes for misidentifying stadium photo as the perp. Got it off his FB page. Can’t blame the Sheriff for that one.

All 6 dead have now been identified.

Hon. John Roll
Gabe Zimmerman
Christina Greene
Dorwin Stoddard
Dorothy Murray
Phyllis Scheck

May they rest in peace.

@TJ/ Jamie Sommers /TJ: Here, then, read about useless law degrees and that will cheer you up.

Now I must double up my efforts to convince every 25 year old undirected kid who contacts me to talk about law school that s/he is in-fucking-sane and would be better suited taking out a $150K loan and burning the money in a toilet.

@TJ/ Jamie Sommers /TJ: Three of the dead: 76, 76, and 79. There’s no good way to check out, but I’d hate to survive that long just for some jackass to cut me off.

@All: See, I know you guys are like that. That you have nurturing natures. You’ve nurtured me; you’ve nurtured my kid, and we are so grateful.

I’d take the neighbor kid, too. Then what do you do? What do you do? How do you tell the parents? How do you live with yourself even though you know it’s not your fault? Only a compassionate person with an interest in others would think to take a neighbor kid to meet her representative. I can’t imagine the pain.

It’s like there’s this huge gangrenous gash in our country, and we’re caught up in it.

@SanFranLefty: I just read that, too. Ugh.

ADD: I didn’t actually talk my brother out of law school, but I told him what he was up against. He didn’t go.

@nojo: Except for the judge, it does sound fairly representative (age-wise) of both congressional staffers and attendees at these types of functions.

@SanFranLefty: I’ve been telling people for years not to go to law school. Every single person who has ever asked me or just hinted at it.

And I thought the worst news out of AZ today was going to be the Latino literature class that was deemed illegal.

@Dodgerblue: I like what I do…

I’m glad. One day I hope to be able to say the same thing.

I’ve spent my post-dinner time making quiet noises on the guitar and reading about gunshot wounds to the head. Preforating head wounds such as Giffords’ where the bullet passes completely through the head have poor post surgical prognosis in 50 percent of the cases. Although any missile passing through brain tissue would create a temporary cavity up to 30x the diameter of the projectile and a permanent cavity of up to 4x of the projectile, a hollow point bullet would have expanded and caused far more damage than a non-expanding bullet with a full metal jacket. She will still be suffering from brain swelling caused by the shock wave of the bullet going through the tissue. The reports of responsiveness and hand movement put her pretty high up on the Glasgow coma scale, however.

FMJs are seriously cheap these days, btw, at prices as low as $11-$16 for a box of 50 rounds, while hollow points could cost twice as much or more, depending on quality. The dirtbag who shot her probably bought the cheapest shit on the shelf.

@Dodgerblue: I like my gig, too, and law school was like a three year vacation for me after the grind of daily journalism.

@Dodgerblue: That’s funny, because I’m the reverse. I hate what I do, but I really liked law school – but I never gave a shit about grades or clerking or what you allegedly “need” to pass the bar exam – I just took classes that sounded intellectually interesting to me and enjoyed the fuck out of them. When I was a 1L I did the math on how much I was paying for tuition and how many classes I was taking, and realized that I was paying per hour more than what a hooker would cost, so I better get something out of it. So I can go on about the history of law or comparative law or voting rights law, but couldn’t write up a will or a contract if my life depended upon it.

At the end of the day, I wanted to be a doctor or nurse when I was a kid, and I let people talk me out of it when I was in high school. I write and argue well and I like history, so if I couldn’t do med school, there’s law school. Now I’m too old/still paying off law school debt, and can’t do anything else, unless it’s starting a Tex-Mex restaurant in Hokitika, South Island, NZ.

@redmanlaw: I will Google “Glasgow coma scale” right now. Is it bad that I was thinking about Lisbeth Salander getting shot in the head and thinking that if it’s a POS bullet and goes through, it’s somehow less bad?

@SanFranLefty: This article has the coma scale plus information on preforating head wounds.

Gen info on GSWs to the head

My original post on this was wrong, so I rewrote it.

@SanFranLefty: I like law schools that help pay my rent.

Another thing I forgot to mention. Thursday, here in the Phoenix area, a rather large suburban mall and another shopping center across the street were put on lockdown and then evacuated when a gunman opened fire on U.S. Marshals and other police looking for a cop shooter who had been erroneously released from jail last week. The mall shooter was caught but the cop shooter is still on the loose.

I’m kinda numb right now, wondering what’s next. And where.

ETA: Really, Jim Carrey? Apocalypse jokes? Really? Fuck you, you talentless hack.

@redmanlaw: Those are penetrating head wounds where the projectile doesn’t pass all the way through and exit. That’s very different from projectiles that bisect the brain, and exit wounds are usually worse than entrance wounds. The brain halves need to communicate through the corpus callosum. If that’s damaged, well…

@TJ/ Jamie Sommers /TJ: I guess it’s now safe for this line I’ve been sitting on all day:

“In other tragedies, Jim Carrey is hosting SNL tonight.”

@nojo: Is he going to rail against vaccines?

@JNOV: Is Carrey on that nut train? Because it kinda derailed this week.

@JNOV: If it’s true that she was able to communicate pre-surgery, chances are it passed through only one side, and not through the corpus callosum. I was reading up some on head wounds like this earlier.

Somewhere I read that an eye surgeon had been called in which might indicate exit was closer to her eye on her forehead than the top of her head.

It’s hard to imagine it being better to “survive” this kind of injury, but at least she’s got good health care coverage so she’ll be luckier than most if she does.

ADD: Who’s Jim Carrey? (I only wish I didn’t know.)

@nojo: Yeah, I read about that new study. He was (is?) with Jenny McCarthy, and her son is autistic. Back to my fallback show, FRONTLINE followed them and other passengers on that nut train for a documentary called The Vaccine War. I have a dear friend who is a chiropractor, and she’s already flipping out about the Lancet article. ZZZZZZZZZZ.

@TJ/ Jamie Sommers /TJ: Jim Carrey is just disturbed. Never thought anything he did was funny. Just kinda creepy.

@karen marie has her eyes tight shut: It depends. Was her communication verbal, physical, both? I don’t know. Frontal, temporal and parietal lobes are more lateral, and the eyes are more medial. We can’t really speculate until they tell us more, and they won’t really know until the swelling goes down (she may need additional surgery to drill cranial burr holes). I’m just saying that having a projectile embed itself a certain distance in your brain is a lot different than having one pass all the way through, and it (the embedded kind) comes with a whole set of different problems, like removing it.

@FlyingChainSaw: I give him credit for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Although that’s kinda like giving Sandler credit for Punch-Drunk Love.

@FlyingChainSaw: My brother and kid were talking out their butts for weeks/months/years? Too long. Don’t get me started on Adam Sandler.

@JNOV: There’s a lot of bad stuff that can happen from motor impairment to neurocognitive impairment to radical personality shifts. The thing that will break the hearts of the family most is to wake up to a completely new and maybe disturbing personality.

@JNOV: Ugh.

@JNOV: Oh, yeah, no, I was just piecing together information I had read about these kinds of injuries and what I had read about direction of the shot, exit location (“forehead”) and word of an eye surgeon.

Sort of a gruesome exercise to while away the time waiting for an update on her situation. That she is still alive is a miracle. It gives one hope.

More Glock talk: Jessica Alba in “Machete”

“Machete don’t text.”

Tonight’s late night feature.

@karen marie has her eyes tight shut: Oh, you didn’t like the Truman Show? I think Ed Harris played my favorite character (I love everything he’s been in, I think — Apollo 13!). I didn’t realize Peter Krause and Paul Giamatti were in The Truman Show, too. I just loved it so much when he left. Triumph!

About the brain injury — yeah, it’s too soon to tell. She might be in remarkable shape (I hope so).

@FlyingChainSaw: Yeah. I’m hoping that 1. She’ll survive, and 2. That all she’ll need it some rehab. Fingers crossed.

@redmanlaw: Why? Is Summer Glau next? Jessica Alba was much more kick ass in Dark Angel. No firearms — just cat DNA.

@JNOV: Hated it. Might like it better if you could cut out all the parts with Jim Carrey.

Speaking of lights in the darkness:

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords awakened briefly in her hospital room and has recognized her husband, astronaut and Navy Capt. Mark Kelly, a source close to the family told POLITICO Saturday night.

Still a ways to go, but there’s that.

@nojo: Sanja Gupta saying that the optimistic prognosis by Giffords’ doctor so soon after her surgery is extraordinary news because neurosurgeons are so reluctant to be anything other than completely guarded.

Just found out about this. It’s been a bad week for Arizona political women.

@nojo: @TJ/ Jamie Sommers /TJ: So, okay, now I’m seeing that story disputed — no consciousness, no recognition.

Look, my former professional colleagues, I get that breaking news evolves rapidly, but this day has been over the top.

Let’s play J-School! “A source close to the family” may be good enough for a bog-standard political-rumor story, but when in the realm of verifiable fact, either get something more authoritative, or name yer fucking source.

@nojo: We could really use some kind of gathering – a rally, perhaps – to restore sanity in America.

I’ve hit my limit now. See y’all tomorrow.

AZ Star confirms 9/11 birth, breaks your heart even more:

She also loved animals and was a passionate dancer who loved ballet, hip-hop, jazz and gymnastics and was the only girl on her Canyon del Oro Little League baseball team, “The Pirates.” She played second base.

Christina-Taylor came from a family of baseball players. Her grandfather, former major-league pitcher Dallas Green, was team manager for the Philadelphia Phillies when they won the World Series in 1980.

@nojo: @TJ/ Jamie Sommers /TJ: StinqueAsia reporting in to say, well, shit. The neighbor boy is also a 9/11 baby. There’s going to be a few wide eyed elementary school teachers this week unsure of how to deal with this in school, and my kids will continue to avoid the newspaper because it is, they say, always sad.

@Nabisco: Bear in mind, we grew up during Sad Times. Uncle Walter may have been a welcome dinner guest, but he had a habit of bumming everybody out.

@nojo: I was deliriously oblivious to the Troubles. I debated for Nixon in 72, and couldn’t figure out why the cute girl for McGovern thought me a Neanderthal. The scales fell from my eyes around about the time of his resignation.

@nojo: Hey, man — great stuff today. You (and the rest of the crew) have kept me on an even-keel.

Except, of couse, for the fact that from about 1830 ET and just now, I passed out. It’s been a long two days in real-life — out of town deps. And thus I missed Keef and SNL, and the latest. Anything to say on that front while you’re still up (but of course you might be falling asleep now too).

@chicago bureau: The iPad makes a wonderful distraction during frequently bad episodes of SNL. Although I almost chunked my pizza when Carrey appeared during the closer wearing a fucking hipster porkpie hat.

Note to every white dude in existence: You are not Thelonious Monk.

Nojo — I can run a 0600 (ET) update, given the fact that you’d be asleep when the Book Club post fires out. You can bump up, or out, at your will. The post is in your hands.

@chicago bureau: One more before I drop…

Schedule as you see fit. I’m not waking up until 1300.

@JNOV: Some of you may appreciate the Stiletto Heel-Fu exhibited by Ms. Alba in one fight scene.

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