Speechless and yet having to write.

On a very real level, I am more depressed about the aftermath of the Giffords shooting than I am about the shooting itself.

Wait. Let me rephrase: The shooting was appalling, and I cannot stop thinking about those poor bystanders who were killed, along with those who were wounded. I cannot stop thinking about Christina Green — that poor child, just out and about, being a peppy little girl, interested and interesting, smart enough to want to go to a rally with a Congresswoman, and she’s gone, torn from her family’s arms, her future not even a whisper anymore. Shot dead for the crime of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, at age 9.

And I can’t stop thinking about Gabby Giffords, a woman I’d literally never heard of before Saturday evening. I keep fearing that I’ll turn on the radio and hear that she’s slipped away, keep holding her in my heart as if my heart could bring her back. The horror of the facts, the horror of the events, the notion that a lawmaker can be shot down while hosting the most democratic of events — listening to constituents — just overwhelms me. Poor woman, she’s fighting for her life and she suddenly a symbol for the health of the republic.

But today, tonight, it feels like the shooting is and will remain just that and only that: A shooting. An act of political violence serving only to murder and injure, an act of political violence which people will be able — will strive mightily — to pigeonhole in whatever way they have long been given to pigeonholing events, and we as a nation will not do the only honorable and noble thing and actually learn some lessons.

Perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps it is really all together too soon to draw any manner of conclusion, and who can tell? Much as I want people to be thunderstruck and awaken from their fevered dreaming in a moment of clarity, mostly people change slowly, society changes slowly, and progress is measured not in days, not even in years, but in decades, if we’re lucky.

But today, tonight, I don’t want to live in this America, this America of viperous lies and dangerous prevarication. I want to live in the one that will come next, the one that will have learned these lessons and moved that much closer to our more perfect union.

Moreover, I have a very powerful fear that the one lesson, the only lesson, that will be learned quickly is this: Shots can be fired, and people can be taken out.

And I know who the real target is.

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11 Comments

  1. I was just thinking that, as fascist as it is, this sort of think never happened in Singapore when I lived there. Of course, there was violent crime. There was never a shooting spree, though. It was safe there in a way America has never been to me.

  2. The failure of civility is the most acute and ubiquitous malady of modern society.

    And I know who the real target is.

    Almost unspeakable…

  3. I think it depends on how we, as citizens, respond. Do we continue ‘business as normal?’ Do we continue to let violent rhetoric go unchallenged, unchecked?

    I keep thinking about the way that any discussions of how we make law gets turned into a discussion of “socialism.” Regulation isn’t socialism; it’s THE RULE OF LAW, it’s the basis of our democracy. It’s the rules of the road we establish to get along with each other. And it’s pliable, subject to change by legislative body when we see ways it’s not working, ways it can be improved.

    It should be treated with respect, not derision. Respect for the process, because that’s the root of any greatness we might have.

    That said, there are places where our rule of law goes too far; we need more privacy protection; and that includes privacy from being snooped on by the government. We need more sense in airport security. We need better protection for the environment we hope our children and grandchildren will live with.

    But we have the right to work those things out together. If we turn that right to work together into a battle with winner-take-all mentality, we’ve already failed.

    And we walk to far down that path right now.

  4. Mafalda

     /  January 11, 2011

    “And I know who the real target is.”

    I think those who are in any way political/racial/religious minorities understand and fear this in a very special way. The rhetoric we hear isn’t just words…for many people it evokes a fear they have been taught to feel all their lives. I’ve been afraid since the elections and the fear will probably remain until the end of his term.

    • I second your statement. The fear is in the back of my mind, and it won’t go away.

      ee, I don’t know what to say. I find myself withdrawing because this all is so deeply sad. I want to think we, as a nation, are better than this, but we have proven time and time again that we are not.

      • It’s really frightening to me to think that just because of one’s genetic heritage, you can find yourself a group that automatically learns to fear.

        I can relate as female; all the things I’m not supposed to do to keep myself safe.

        But the notion of being singled out because of other things, because of my race, my religion, that’s un-American! It’s unpatriotic. It’s wrong.

        You’re right, I want to think we’re better then that, and we’re not. I think of all the crazy talk about immigrants — we’re so far away from being better that it’s really frightening and sad.

        Yet the march of our traditions to include is such a wonderful thing. Can we live up to that vision?

    • Of course, I’m sure you meant termS, right? I’ll be worried sick for 8 years, in exchange for having him as our President for that long…. (Fingers crossed).

  5. A friend of mine in Tucson told me that’s “her” Safeway; her partner and their son were out shopping on Saturday and only avoided being at the scene because the 3yo preferred a different store with “better carts”.

    Christ.

    Anyway, while I agree who the real target is, I’d bet that the Secret Service is HIGHLY motivated to make sure the nation’s first black president finishes out his term(s).

    Still.

    • Holy crap that is just terrifying. Life and death, in the hands of a toddler’s whims.

      I keep wondering how many more layers they can put between the President and the world. (And then frankly wishing they would add another one).

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