Phoenix, AZ, January 9, 2011 ““ The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today condemned the tragic shooting rampage that wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killed and wounded more than a dozen innocent bystanders in Tucson, with reports of six dead and 14 wounded.
Miriam Weisman, ADL Arizona Regional Board Chair, and Bill Straus, ADL Arizona Regional Director, issued the following statement:
We are shocked by this unconscionable and horrific act of violence against one of our highly respected public servants. We agree with President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner that this was more than an attack on one member of Congress – it is an attack on all public servants and the very fabric of our democracy.
During her years in the statehouse, Rep. Giffords served on the ADL Arizona Regional Board. Her affiliation with ADL, which monitors and exposes hate and extremist groups, contributed to her awareness of the nexus between hate ideology and violence. It is a testament to her dedication to her constituents that despite past threats against her, Rep. Giffords has always been so accessible to the people she represents. Our thoughts and prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords and the other victims and their families.
ADL remains in contact with law enforcement as investigators endeavor to establish a motive for the attack. It is critical to determine whether the alleged shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, acted alone or with others, and whether he was influenced by extremist literature, propaganda or hate speech. While it is still not clear whether the attack was motivated by political ideology, the tragedy has already led to, as Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik put it, “soul searching” about the connection between incivility and violence. We applaud Sheriff Dupnik’s statements condemning the volatile nature of political discourse in America and for taking this investigation seriously.