Ariz. shooting a national tragedy
Published: Sunday, January 9, 2011
Updated: Sunday, January 9, 2011 19:01
Saturday morning our nation suffered a devastating and tragic politically motivated murder.
As Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords conducted her normal meeting with constituents at a local grocery store in Tuscon, Ariz., a gunman took aim for the unsuspecting politician, shooting her point blank in the head and then opened fire on the rest of the crowd.
The suspect, 22-year-old Jared Loughner, was tackled at the scene and promptly apprehended.
According to the New York Times, 18 others were shot in the barrage of bullets, leaving six dead.
Among the deceased are John M. Roll — the chief judge for the United States District Court of Arizona — a 9-year-old girl and a few members of Giffords' staff.
Despite having a bullet go entirely through her head, Giffords is currently responsive and even though she is in critical condition, the trauma director at the University of Arizona stated in a press conference that he is optimistic about her condition.
Words can't describe how terribly saddened we are by the loss of so many innocent lives and the unnecessary violence demonstrated by the shooter.
This man's view of the government was extremely distorted and his sanity is currently being questioned.
Prior to the shooting, Loughner posted YouTube videos with what can only be described as political rambling.
One video features plain white text on a black background describing the need for a new currency and an emphasis on promoting literacy and grammar among Americans.
We really can't provide a rational explanation as to why Loughner decided to spill so much innocent blood; there is no justification or excuse for it.
Clearly the suspect had some alternative political beliefs, and there have been rumors that Giffords has faced recent threats due to her stance on health care.
We may not care for people who act in this manner, but we do need to understand their beliefs and why they behave this way.
Our biggest concern, however, besides the health and well-being of those injured, is that the fear created by this shooting will dissuade citizens from wanting to run for office.
We need smart and talented individuals to run our country but sadly this noble task comes at a high price.
Any public figure runs the risk of accumulating enemies; there are people out there who don't know how to express their dissent properly, instead creating incidents like Saturday's shooting.
The event has left us heartbroken, but unfortunately it is nearly impossible to completely prevent similar occurrences in the future.
It takes a courageous individual to thrust themselves into the public's eye, knowing they are bound to create enemies.
For those strong enough, we applaud you, but we don't want this killing to diminish that bravery.
Let us make a point to say, too, that politicians need to be more careful about the information they present to the world, particularly about their opponents.
Politicians should not reduce themselves to fear mongering in order to gain votes.
There are ways to spread your message without possibly endangering the life of a colleague.
Our deepest condolences go out to everyone who was swept up in this tragedy.
Giffords is described as having a bubbly personality and is well liked by her peers. There were many lives taken from us Saturday morning but our hopes are high for Giffords to make a speedy and full recovery.
"This is more than a tragedy for those involved," President Obama said in a televised statement on Saturday afternoon. "It is a tragedy for Arizona and a tragedy for our entire country."
Our nation took a hard blow to the chest on Saturday, but the key is to not let this hinder our political performance.