I'm referring to the shootings in Tucson on January 8th, 2011. We were driving back from a ski trip, and my husband turned to me as we walked back to the car at the rest stop.
"Did you hear Gabrielle Giffords is dead?"
"Yeah . . ." And then he made a sound like a laugh, at the shock of it all.
Thankfully, that turned out not to be true. Gabby Giffords survived being shot in the head and was taken to UMC. Her truly incredible recovery and the outpouring of support from all over the country and the world has been inspiring and a comfort to me over this past week or so. Whether or not she'll ever fully recover is unknown, but there is good cause for hope.
Not everyone there was as lucky as Gabby, while others were far luckier. Nineteen people were shot in all, and six of those people died:
U.S.District Court Judge John Roll
Christina Taylor Green
Thirteen others survived: Susan Hileman, Mavanell Stoddard, Pamela Simon, Ronald Barber, James Tucker, Kenneth Veeder, George Morris, James Fuller, Randy Gardner, Mary Reed, Kenneth Dorushka, and Bill Badge.
The twenty-two year old gunman was Jared Loughner:
A yearbook photo.
On the U of A campus.
Being booked for the shooting.
How does one begin to process this? How does one young man -- the same age as my sister, a friend of a woman I work with -- undergo such a horrific transformation? What does it mean for those who were there to be a survivor, to be a victim? What does it mean to see my city and my state receive national wall to wall press coverage - to recall the newspaper I saved when I was twelve, its pictures and headlines telling of a massacre at Columbine and see the parallels - what can one possibly pull from this? Why do I stay away from my favorite news websites - is it to avoid more news of the tragedy or to pretend that the world hasn't nearly forgotten it, moving on to another day, another tragedy somewhere else?
In my coming posts, I'm going to attempt to answer these questions, if only to add my voice to the already hashed and rehashed version of events we've heard echoed across these last eleven days - if only to try to make some sense out of the non-sense that was Saturday. Please, feel free to add your comments, questions, suggestions for where this discussion should go - this should be a community thing.