Saturday afternoon as I was cooking up the usual potatoes o' brien, I received a text of a disconcerting sort-
"Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head at Safeway on Ina and Oracle."
I stopped cooking, why bother, my appetite had instantly vanished. I went to my computer and looked for the news, for more information on how, why, this had happened, and in my backyard no less.
I learned that a young male, a male my age, had went up to Giffords and shot her in the head, point blank. I learned that after that he went on to fire rounds off at random people, killing several and among them a nine year old girl. A girl who had nothing to do with the hate in this mans heart. A girl who had probably anticipated many more Saturday afternoons. I learned the male was mentally unbalanced and had likely acted on hate fueled by the mouths of people in the press, in politics that toss it around so casually.
I never learned WHY something like this would happen. WHY somebody would act out in such a way that would force the life out of others in an act of pure hatred. WHY we've become a nation that uses violent banter as a means of communication. WHY we've allowed guns in our grocery stores while we tie up our dogs outside.
My mind is still spinning. Still trying to catch up with information while trying to solve the unanswered questions. Trying to fathom even though the act has been done, the funeral arrangements made, the IV's and prayers of broken hearted Tucsonans doing their best to make sure Giffords can one day see how much we care for her, need her.
I'm scared for humanity. That's all I keep coming back to. I'm scared of the hate that has consumed so many for so little purpose. Should we all be watching our backs? Checking for monsters under our beds in a country that says it's free?
We aren't free. Not as long as things like this happen. Not as long as hateful rhetoric continues to infect and damage. Not when other peoples freedoms are taken away in mere moments, in violence.
I'm not a religious person but I find myself praying, lighting candles, hoping. Hoping. Hoping...
For Giffords. For the lives lost Saturday afternoon. And for all of us.