When it hits close to home…

Posted on January 8, 2011. Filed under: Culture, Health, Philosophy |

Arizona Congressional Representative Gabrielle Giffords

It is a sad thing that my first post of a new year involves local tragedy. I use the word “tragedy” advisedly, as many things happen during a lifetime, and looked at from a very broad perspective, are part of the dance of life. Use of the word “dance” here is in no way meant to demean or make light of the real emotions involved. I have been filled with emotion all this day.

I woke up about an hour before the event occurred, with a blinding headache. This is unusual for me, and although I hadn’t been feeling tip-top for some days, I was surprised at this. I also felt a bit wary, as if there were tension in the air.

I made my morning tea and toast, and turned on the computer, as I generally do. I don’t usually look at the news outlets first thing in the morning, but, through my email, I am signed up for local breaking-news-alerts. Sometimes I find the notion almost funny—as there is very little breaking news in southern Arizona, other than occurrences regarding border security with Mexico, which is only an hour’s drive south of me.

I immediately noticed the name in the news, today. Congressional Representative Gabrielle Giffords, is MY congressperson, I voted for her each of the three times she ran for, and won, her congressional seat. I have heard her speak; she has left phone messages at my home letting me know when she’ll have a townhouse meeting near me. I’m on her email update list, and I follow her on Twitter. In short, although I’m not VERY political, she is the politician I am most in touch with.

Additionally, the shooting incident took place about 8-9 miles from me, in a shopping center I’ve visited frequently, usually while on my way to pick up supplies for a job. I had lunch at a restaurant a few yards away, just two days ago. I picked up some sundry items at the pharmacy next door while there. I had actually planned to attend one of Rep. Giffords town meetings when she came to my town.

As the day unfolded, I heard the incorrect report that the Congresswoman had died of her gunshot wound to the head. Tears streamed down my face. Later, it was reported that she survived her wound, and was recovering well after surgery. Her aide, a judge, and a little girl, among 3 others were not as lucky, and several others remain in critical condition. At this time, I don’t know if I knew any of the victims. It is possible. Tucson, though large in area has a small town feel and is a close-knit community, and as I’ve worked on the periphery of performing arts organizations, I have had occasion to help coordinate events with the mayor of Tucson and other political leaders.

I say this not to name-drop, but to show how much the community works together. This is very personal to us here, and even more stunning as it makes international news. The area where the shooting took place is normally very peaceful and congenial. Everyone knows the intersection and the small businesses surrounding it; it is a crossroads of the northwest part of the vicinity.

Our local news advised us to avoid the area, as the streets were shut down in all four directions. This is a major artery here, and I’ve passed through hundreds of times as my most direct route to get to meetings in central Tucson. I’m scheduled to attend a dinner tonight; I don’t know at this moment if I’ll be able to get there.

Mostly, in addition to those who were killed and injured today, I mourn the loss of freedom of expression. Ms. Giffords has always been known for her friendliness and for really hearing what her constituents have to say. She flies all the way home from Washington to have these meetings regularly. She is a moderate Democrat, and has been considered by some Republicans to be more the old style of Republican than are the current “Tea Party” Republicans.

Tucson is not a hugely important city in the United States; certainly it’s no Chicago or New York or Los Angeles. That something like this could happen so close to home has me rattled. I feel quite safe, or at least as safe as I always did, as the police have the suspect in custody, and it appears to be an isolated incident. But I felt, as I watched the national news coverage of the scene, much as I did when viewing the aftermath of 9/11…although obviously a much less impactful event in the scheme of things, there is a loss of innocence and joy that I and many will now have to work to recapture. My heart and my thoughts go out to all impacted by this and other similar events.

Peace; Salaam; Shalom β™₯


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10 Responses to “When it hits close to home…”

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I just read about this, and just don’t know what to make of it. It’s incredibly sad. My mom lives in Yuma, which I believe is where the judge was from.

I keep writing and erasing, so I’ll just stop here. So sorry this happened at all, and sorrier still that it happened in your backyard.

Thank you very much for your support, Moonbeam. It did feel strange and surreal. I went to the dinner meeting, and got there without a hitch as the roads had been clear for hours. A bittersweet time, we had. Close associations for your mom as well.

This eats at our souls. That our nation, founded upon such noble ideals, can sink to such sorrowful depths, is deeply troubling.

Prayers for Ms. Giffords’ healing and for those lost in this incomprehensible event.

It is sad. I can’t imagine how frightening it must have been for the people there, and now for the families, friends and community to get through something like this. Sorry, Muse. But I am thankful you were not there!

I am not sure where I was but yesterday sometime, it hit me that I needed to check on you since I know you are in Tucson. There are no words to offer that can really make anyone feel better about these events, these horrible acts of violence but I do want you to know that I hope you will feel safe and less rattled and whatever it it that helps assure and remember that we must think good thoughts and accentuate the positives to balance out this meanness that exists. Ok, I’m rambling, aren’t I? Having lived in Omaha, I was shocked at the violence they experienced last week in one of the high schools and yet all my HS teacher friends here in Mass didn’t even know about it. Was it because I know Omaha that it caught my attention in the news? Probably, so I understand how close it can feel even if we are miles away and how impactful it feels when in our backyard. PEACE ON EARTH, goodwill to all.

Dave, while this is far from the first such incident in our lifetimes, it has captured local and international interest. Our souls do suffer a bit each time. A lot has changed since I first wrote this on Saturday, soon after hearing the news. I’ll append an update after the memorial service on Wed. Thank you so much for your thoughts!

Hi BD, it is very sad. As someone said, at a time like this, emotion IS the rational response. I’m very grateful I was not there, too. My thoughts are with those who were, and those I know who knew one or more of the victims. Thank you! β™₯

I’m incredibly moved, Care, that you thought to check on me! πŸ™‚ That feels good, coming as it does across our many states. Yes, the events in Omaha did not capture the international attention quite like this did; I guess because several members of the government are involved here. I think of everyone who feels anything regarding this; including the perpetrator. I do hold thoughts of peace; all I can do. And I feel quite safe, and appreciate your concern about that! Also: you have not rambled; not a bit! πŸ™‚

[…] When it hits close to home… (museditions.wordpress.com) […]

It’s amazing the recovery she is making. Just amazing. And in a close-to-home sort of way she’s headed to my neck of the woods for physical rehab.

Thank you for this, Muse. My PC still has toruble seeing your comment form – so sorry – but hopefully what I am typing shows up. I can only hope some good – if that even makes sense with a tragedy like this – results. If it simply stops with members of Congress sitting together during one speech – at least those who could bear to do so – it will be even more tragic. Big hug. No more headaches, please.

I read your post, too, Jackalopes, and was touched by it. This has changed our Arizona, and has gotten the attention of the world.

Jules, you folks have obviously been doing a great job, as our Congressional Rep. is set to attend the shuttle launch on Friday! Can’t imagine someone I’d rather lend her to than y’all πŸ™‚

No, no more headaches, RA! This is a long time coming, but I do very much appreciate that you commented here. I did enjoy watching some congress members sit together. Would love for them to be able to work together too. Hugs! πŸ™‚

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