A Brief Note on the Tragedy in Tucson
A brief introduction to this post: I wrote this post last night, after watching the Tucson Memorial Service. I was unsure if I was going to talk about this tragedy, but felt it necessary. Please understand this is solely my own opinion, and is authored with nothing but respect and sadness for those who were lost.
It is an unfortunate reality that the worst moments in our history seem to be the only ones that truly bring us together and force us to examine the world in which we live. We have all heard of the tragedy that occurred this past Saturday in Tucson. This post is not meant to provide the factual details of this event, as that is readily available elsewhere. Rather, this post exists as a brief commentary on the situation which tragically took the lives of so many innocent people.
Reports on the shooter in this incident have used the word “troubled” over and over. Reports of his alleged mental health problems and unconventional past have been well documented. At this point, there appears to be no concrete motive for this unthinkable act. But that has not stopped people from speculating, as to the cause of this. The blame has been placed on many causes and individuals, not one of which is truly deserving of such awful accusations.
Throughout history, certain individuals have been uncomfortable with the reach of government and have tried to harm elected officials, whom they perceive to be the most tangible links to the problem they so desperately fear. Many people, for whatever reason, have unrealistic ideas in their heads about the harm their democratic government can do to them, and thus they take drastic measures to try and stop it. In this instance, it appears this may have been the case, however I myself am no authority on this matter.
There seems to be clear evidence that the target of the attack was Congresswoman Giffords. I am in no way justifying the actions of the shooter, but when an individual makes the decision to run for an elected position, they are acknowledging the danger it poses. Just as a police officer, or fireman does the same. What makes this tragedy even more horrific, is the fact that innocent bystanders became the actual victims. They did nothing wrong, other than being in that unfortunate spot at that very moment.
The speakers at last night’s memorial service made many poignant remarks. One in particular was said by President Barack Obama, who stated that “we should talk in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds.” In the days since this tragedy the discussion has wounded, not healed a shocked and saddened nation. While many want to know the motives, so they may gain understanding and closure, the reality is simply that the events can not be undone. While we should always remember those who were lost, instead of dwelling on a past we can not change, let’s focus attention on a future we can make better. In my opinion, that is the true way to honour those who have died.
Full text of Obama’s eulogy can be found here.