One tea party leader says that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) has herself to blame for getting shot in the head Saturday.
The Arizona congresswoman shouldn't have attended an event "in full view of the public" if she had security concerns, according to Tucson Tea Party co-founder Trent Humphries.
Giffords warned MSNBC's Chuck Todd last year that there would be "consequences" to violent rhetoric and imagery after Fox News' Sarah Palin released a graphic which placed crosshairs over the congresswoman's district.
"But the thing is that the way that [Palin] has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gunsight over our district," Giffords said. "And when people do that, they’ve gotta realize there’s consequences to that action."
But Humphries thinks Giffords was just speaking out against Palin for political gain.
"It's political gamesmanship," he told the Guardian. "The real case is that she [Giffords] had no security whatsoever at this event. So if she lived under a constant fear of being targeted, if she lived under this constant fear of this rhetoric and hatred that was seething, why would she attend an event in full view of the public with no security whatsoever?"
"For all the stuff they accuse [Palin] of, that gun poster has not done a tenth of the damage to the political discourse as what we're hearing right now."
"There are people who are genuinely confused, scared, and I understand it. But there are also people who are deliberately manipulating this event and tragedy for political ends," Humpries added.
And he may be right. Another tea party group in California has been using the tragedy to raise money.
In an e-mail to supporters this week, the Tea Party Express asked for donations.
"Instead of prayers for the victims and their families, the Left was consumed with using this massacre to score political points by blaming the tea party movement, Gov. Sarah Palin and now Rush Limbaugh," the e-mail said.
"That's why we've asked you for your support. Let's show the Left that instead of us being silenced, that there awful attacks on us will only backfire and that the tea party movement will be stronger than ever!"
"Please, make a contribution online right now to the Tea Party Express," the letter concluded.
This video is from The Guardian, uploaded to YouTube Jan. 11, 2010.
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