Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Can't we all just get along?

The events of this past weekend have disturbed me so much that I feel compelled to write about them. I'm not talking just about the shooting in Arizona. There was another shooting death in Tallahassee this weekend which struck close to home. A beautiful 20 year old girl who graduated from my children's former school, was killed in an accidental shooting over the weekend.

My children have been exposed to so many senseless deaths and violence over the past year or so.  Long time readers may remember that last November two of their friends were killed by their father, who then shot himself. The kids were devastated (as we all were) and have had a very tough time coming to terms with it.

C & P have been asking me why this crazy man in Arizona was able to buy a gun and shoot these people, and I do not have an answer for them. 

They want to know why there are so many guns in our country. Again, I don't have an answer for them. I recently heard a report that said that for every 100 people in the USA there are 90 guns. 

I am frustrated and sad. 

I'm not trying to be political, but this whole gun issue bothers me on so many levels. I'm not talking about trying to take anyone's right to bear arms away from them - but I do think we need to have more safeguards in place. It should not be so easy for someone, anyone, to buy a gun.  

If you don't agree with me - take another look at this little girl's face.
This 9 year old girl was killed, along with several other people, because a crazy man had a gun. 

Her poor, devastated parents have to bury their little girl.  They won't see her go on a first date, or graduate from high school, or get married.

And I just heard that the Westboro Baptist Church, which is "famous" for picketing at US soldier's funerals, has decided to picket her funeral as well. 

Can you imagine her grieving parents being confronted with the hate-filled messages these people are known for?
Oh, and in case you're wondering, as I was, exactly why they decided to picket her funeral...it's because the family is Roman Catholic. And, according to this organization (I can't honestly refer to them as a church...sorry), God hates Catholics.  They also believe that God hates Jews, homosexuals, soldiers, anyone who has ever contributed to AIDS research or stem cell research and probably many, many more. Basically, anyone who is different from them or their ideology. 

The one bright spot in this saga is that the town of Tucson is coming together and building angel wings of 8-10 feet. They plan to silently surround the mourners at the funeral and protect them from the sight of the picketers. They plan to surround them with love.

Which is brilliant and beautiful.

Jon Stewart spoke about this tragedy on his show last night, and his thoughts perfectly reflect my own regarding the finger pointing and the vitriolic rhetoric which is so pervasive these days.

He said that you cannot blame a graphic image or violent comment for what happened in Tucson. His hope however, as well as mine, is that when these angry people (on both sides of the debate, by the way) see the real life consequences of what they have been saying that perhaps the tone can be turned down.

The thing is, that while you cannot blame anyone for this tragedy except the person who pulled the trigger, you have to accept responsibility for perhaps contributing to the toxic environment in our country.

If you are at a rally shouting, "If ballots don't work, bullets will!", someone might just take you seriously and decide to use bullets. 

And someone did.

Did he do it because of violent remarks and graphic images or would this have happened regardless? Who knows?

What I do know is that I am saddened by the events, all of them, of this weekend. I am appalled by things I hear fellow Americans saying to each other. I am amazed at the hatred that is so pervasive in our country. And I am horrified that guns are so easy to acquire, for anyone, in this atmosphere of anger and distrust. I think that is a very volatile situation.

And I know that when my children ask me why this happened, I have no answers for them.

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