Thanks to my friend Maria Wolters on Twitter, who pointed me in the direction of this moving and wise post from one of Gabrielle Giffords' constituents, an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Arizona, who lives about 5 miles away from where the shooting took place. If you do nothing else today, please read it. In a relatively short article, he describes:
- his emotions while watching the events unfold, including the terror at thinking that some friends of his might have been caught up in it
- the appalling racism that is never far from the surface in Arizona which is so bad he doesn't feel that he wants to raise a family in that state
- a snapshot of the intimidating gun culture there
- an account of an intolerant, febrile and deeply unpleasant political climate
- a warm appreciation of an excellent Congresswoman
If you have time, you might also want to read the previous post on his blog, which says that Arizona has cut funding for state funded transplant operations, giving a death sentence to people on low incomes who need such surgery.
Ted's blog post on yesterday's events aptly describes the elements in the crucible which ultimately led to 20 families being thrown into absolute turmoil. The list of people killed is here. It's so heartbreaking, but especially so that a 9 year old with a new and blossoming interest in politics and citizenship, taken along by her neighbour because they thought she would enjoy it, was caught up in it all. Being taken along to meet a very positive role model for public service might have inspired her on a path to achieve great things. It's so awful that she won't get that chance.