Arizona shooting rampage suspect in court

January 10, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
We're getting our first look at the suspected gunman from this weekend's shootings in Tuscon.

In his mugshot, 22-year-old Jared Loughner can be seen with a shaved head and a cut on his temple. He made his first court appearance Monday and was assigned the same attorney who represented Timothy McVeigh and the "Unabomber."

He was charged with murder, attempted murder and the murder of federal employees while they were on duty, which could carry the death penalty. He only spoke to answer questions from the judge.

He's accused of killing six people, including a 9-year-old girl and a federal judge, and injuring 14 others including Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords

President Obama presided over a national moment of silence Monday morning, a moment marked at the U.S. Capitol and elsewhere around the nation.

Representative Giffords remains in intensive care. Doctors reported Monday that she was showing some encouraging signs. After two surgeries, she gave the doctors a thumbs-up and tried to grab her breathing tube. Eight of the wounded remain hospitalized with five in serious condition

Some members of Congress say they won't let this shooting stop them from holding public gatherings with constituents, while others are calling for more security at events. One of the major debates that's gone on over the last 48 hours is what part, if any, the toxic political discourse in this country played into this tragedy.

Nobody knows for sure what Loughlin's motives were, but over the last year, we've had people bring guns to presidential rallies, and we've seen a congressman yell, "You lie," during the State of the Union Address. Nevada senatorial candidate Sharon Angle called for "Second Amendment remedies" to deal with the problems our nation faces.

Giffords' own opponent in her recent congressional race called for people to fire M16 rifles to send a message that they were reclaiming their seat.

The person taking the most heat is Sarah Palin. Her website had a map of districts she wanted the Tea Party to take control of. Over these districts, she placed a sniper's gun sight. It was an eerie foreshadowing of the events to come.

Representative Giffords once addressed the map in an interview during the midterm elections saying, "We're on Sarah Palin's targeted list, but the thing is, the way that she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, you've got to realize there's consequences to that action."

Question of the Day: Do you believe the over the top right wing vitriol heard over the last year played a part in Rep. Giffords' shooting?

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