Shots rang out Sat. Jan. 8 shattering the air with sounds of destruction killing 6 and wounding 14. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords lay near death with a bullet piercing her brain. Amid all the chaos there was sanity which applied first aid that saved her life, people subdued the madman and took away his ability to kill. First responders quickly arrived on the scene and order was soon restored but the destruction wrought remained, stark and chilling crying out for justice and sanity to return as good people were attacked, hurt and some destroyed. We all heard about it but the cold words in a newspaper or a media reporter telling us about it can not convey the horror of what had happened. Following this both the right and left of American politics began finger pointing placing blame on each other for the horrendous happening. Healing had to begin. Order had to be restored and those who were in the middle of this had to be honored for their losses.
The University of Arizona held a memorial service in a basketball arena which was attended by dignitaries and plain people in an attempt to bring the beginning of healing to the community and nation.
At first the loud cheering was jarring. Shouldn't we be somber, mournful? As the proceedings continued it became obvious from the beginning that you can be Mournful, respectable yet still have happiness in the hope that this useless act would lead to a more useful ending. The opening Blessing from the Native American Professor was meaningful and beautiful as it recognized the Creator and all his creation even the bugs and animals as well as all of us. President Obama's speech was a return to the Obama we voted for for, eloquent, full of hope and compassionate almost as if he really knew all of those who were harmed and those who heroically were involved. How true were his statements about the 9 year old victim, Christina Taylor Green.
How true were his statements that when we think of her and her expectations, dreams, imagination and sense of discovery we can see our own children and grandchildren. For me, Obama brought home Jesus' instruction to become like little children, childlike in trust and hope, in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. We, all of us, have this sense of wonder, trust in goodness and expectation that tomorrow holds great surprises for us, until we let the cynicism encountered by entering the world of "grown ups" destroy all of it. The time has come to reclaim it, to become "like little children". This doesn't mean we have to let others take advantage of us for we should always fight for the right things while maintaining a sense of purity.
We know very little about the perpetrator and his family. Obviously he is a madman, that being so it means he needed help and never got it. Until proven otherwise, he is sick and never got the attention he needed to make him well or remove him from society so that he couldn't hurt himself or others. His family must be devastated by all this and they need our prayers and support. All this has a ripple effect like dropping a stone in the water, the effect goes to each shore, downstream and upstream touching much more than only the spot where the stone was dropped. Let us pray that this will affect all of us only in good ways.