Monday, January 10, 2011
What the tragedy in Tucson meant to me
No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't take my mind off the deadly shooting in Tucson, Arizona. I think we all saw this coming because the signs were in plain sight. This senseless massacre by a mentally unstable person has nothing to do with the partisan rhetoric of either side. We may find out later that it does but as of now Jared Loughner has not cooperated with police interrogators.
As I watched the Saturday playoff games, I would click over to CNN for the latest updates on the shooting and even while I was in church, my mind drifted every few minutes. I remember that this is the same political climate we were in before the Oklahoma City bombing of the Murrah Federal building. A few days after the Oklahoma City bombing, I remember a coworker, who was a member of the Republic of Texas militia, came in bragging because he got a call from the Houston Chronicle asking him if his group had any involvement. He was proud because the Houston Chronicle knew who he was but it did not impress the rest of us. It hit close to home much like the terrorist threat made to the Bay City ISD.
I think most of us saw the signs coming as recent as the August of 2009, when we saw the vitriol being displayed at the town hall meetings all over the United States. The offices of some legislators were vandalized and their lives threatened. We saw it brewing. There was a time we could go to the main post office to mail a package or serve on a jury at the county courthouse without going through a security check. Back then we could go watch an Astros game without our bags being checked or board an airplane without being viewed a flight risk.
I saw many instances of hope yesterday; when legislators of both parties said it was time for the harsh rhetoric to stop. We never want to subdue the passionate debate on the issues, but it doesn't need to lead to hate of the opposition or the government. I think our government is broken and needs a lot of repair, but it needs to be done with compromise; not an airplane flying into a Federal building, bodily threats, or vandalism. I love politics; especially hardball politics but I despise acts of violence. I think it was wise and statesmanlike for Speaker Boehner to halt any action on legislation this week, have a memorial, and schedule a bipartisan caucus soon. A timeout to reflect is not a bad idea.
It wasn't long after the senseless massacre in Tucson, Arizona that the partisans on the left and right either accused their opponents for fueling the fire, or they took a defensive position. The media were more than happy to give them the venue to state their case. There's nothing in the world that would have stopped this deranged young man. It doesn't take much to send those people over the line. At that same time, a woman came out calling for more gun control, and some gun advocates were calling for more guns. Why can't we wait for all the facts come out before lighting the fuel for another argument ?Jared Loughner was stopped, wrestled to the ground, and detained by three unarmed individuals, one being a 61 year old woman. Let's use this time to honor them, the nine year old girl, the Federal judge and others that were critically wounded or died. There will always be time for what we could've done, should've done, or can do to prevent an incident like this in the future.
I hope the solutions don't interfere with the one- on- one interaction we are able to have with our politicians. I don't think it's too much for politicians to check in with the local police department to make them aware of what they're doing.