On Tucson

by Kathleen on January 9, 2011

I don’t know what to say.

We were curled up on the couch, watching Faerie Tale Theater with the kiddos when Ari saw the news online.  Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others shot, five of them dead, including a federal judge and a nine year-old girl.  The shooter in custody, an accomplice at large.

We whispered back and forth and waited till after bedtime to read more.  A truly-centrist Democrat from a traditionally Republican district in an incredibly Republican state.  The only member of Congress with an active-duty spouse (an astronaut no less, and commander of the shuttle Discovery).  Someone kind and passionate and opinionated.  Someone targeted by Sarah Palin’s cross-hairs on the map she still has posted on her Facebook page, with the encouragement that voters “take aim.”

Everyone is sorry and it’s no one’s fault that a crazy person opened fire on a community event.

But the Pima County sheriff spoke eloquently about our toxic political climate, pointing out what anyone with an ounce of common sense knows:

You cannot sow hate without reaping hate.

You cannot speak of the firing line without expecting people to fire.

You cannot court gun metaphors without courting gun violence.

You cannot claim responsibility for what is right without acknowledging responsibility for what is wrong.

I’m thinking about Gabrielle Giffords today, and wondering how optimistic her doctors really are after describing her brain injury as “through and through.”  I’m thinking about Judge John M. Roll, the first federal judge killed in 22 years.  I’m thinking about Christina Green, whose life began on September 11, 2001 and ended yesterday, when a neighbor took her to meet her Congresswoman.

I’m thinking about what to say to my own daughter, who wants to know what her Daddy and I are talking about, and why we sound so sad.