Today America suffered a great tragedy: the shooting and mass killing which took the lives of at least 6 people in Tuscon, Arizona. Among the dead are a nine (9!) year old child, a federal judge, John M. Roll, and a government staffer. Among the wounded, a United States congresswoman, along with about 12 others.
I have to admit. I am a news junkie. My twitter feeds and top visited websites are news related, particularly politically leaning. I was clued in to the shooting this morning in Arizona not too long after it had occurred. I watched as information was scrambled together on-air to compose a somewhat cohesive news report. As time progressed, the gravity of the situation unfolded. A United States Congresswoman, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Arizona, was involved in the shooting. First it was unclear if she was injured. Then it was revealed she had been involved in the shooting. Definitely shot. Med flighted out to trauma hospital. Shot in the back of the head. Dead. Alive. Maybe not dead? No, not dead. Talking on her way to the operating room. Surgery successful, she's going to pull through.
Who was the shooter? White? Black? Brown? Terrorist? No. Not a terrorist apparently, as it turns out he was white, so definitely not a terrorist. Just someone who will in no doubt turn out to be a troubled youth who was a loner and yet, sweet to the neighbors and he would say hi from time to time, but who definitely kept to himself and at times raised a few eyebrows so to speak.
Did you know that Gabrielle Giffords was on Sarah Palin's hit list? (Okay, it wasn't a "real" hitlist, just a list of Democratic Congress members who needed to be "taken out" in the elections. Marked in the center of the cross-hairs of gun target. So what if Sarah Palin tweeted to her followers "Don't Retreat, RELOAD" she wasn't "really" serious.)
I sat and watched the TV for 3 hours or so, at least, waiting to hear officially the condition that the Congresswoman was in. ( In between checking copious websites and news feed updates). Honestly, I didn't think she was going to make it, but I am THOROUGHLY elated that she managed to survive this horrendous event. During this time, I was reminded exactly what it was to be an American. Not a Democrat. Not a Republican. Not a Liberal. Not a Conservative. AN AMERICAN. (Yes, I hug trees AND believe we need to overhaul the welfare system!..but regardless of that...)
I could not wrap my head around the idea that somebody was capable of such a horrific act as shooting a member of Congress in the back of the head while they were speaking with constituents of their district...the EXACT reason we should praise members of Congress.
I'm bringing my blog back after over two-years of a hiatus because it's events like these that make me sick to stomach and make me, at the same time, proud to be an American and stand-up for what this country was founded for. It's time for the pundits to shut their mouths unless they have something constructive to contribute. It's time for news media to be held accountable for their reporting. It's time for politicians to realize that their words and their actions actually do motivate people for good, or for not so good (Yeah, I'm talking to you Sarah). Those people in positions to influence others need to choose their words more carefully and stop instigating hate and fear and violence. You see what happens when you don't.
My deepest sympathy together with my well-wishes go out to Congresswoman Giffords and her family, as well as to the family members and friends of those killed and injured in today's events. My thoughts, and the thoughts and prayers of millions of Americans, are with you today.