by Dan Gibson
Tucson Weekly columnist Tom Danehy comments on the state of Tucson in the wake of the Saturday's shooting:
Giffords had confounded people by holding court in a district — a state, really — that has developed a decidedly conservative edge. And an increasingly sharp one at that. She beat, in order, a border zealot, a rising star from the state legislature, and, just a couple months ago, a Tea Party stud straight out of Central Casting — as in tall, white, handsome, white, ex-military, and, of course, white. She supported, in order, the passing of President Obama's health-care plan, the repeal of Jan Brewer's controversial SB1070 immigration bill, and the increase of the Border Patrol's presence in town. Her most effective campaign commercial last year featured a craggy-faced Cochise County rancher — a lifelong Republican, probably — who said he would vote for her because "Gabrielle Giffords gets it."
So the most confounding thing about her shooting this weekend — besides conflicting reports as to whether Giffords was actually alive — was not why some nutjob would do such a thing. It was how nutty things have gotten around here so quickly, and why getting angry is getting to be a surprisingly unsurprising experience.
"When SB1070 happened, I would go out of my way to tell people that Tucson was different from the rest of Arizona," said Hayley Evans, a Tucsonan and former Giffords intern whose weekend sporting match — a crew race for GW in Florida — was also shrouded in tragedy. "And now this."