Saturday's shooting in Arizona was such an immense tragedy. Though I mourn for all lost and for the continued recovery of the shooting victims, my heart really sinks when I see the picture of that innoncent 9-year-old girl. I suppose that's the parent in me but I hope, more importantly, that's the human being in me. Life makes us cynical, hardened to the ways of this world but when you see an innocent gunned down in such senseless violence, it's just hard to understand.
As for the reasoning behind the shooting, mark my vote down as mental insanity. I think this individual has some serious mental health issues that were likely go to lead to something horrible like this at some point. Of course, the larger debate has turned to whether his attack was the result of our country's super-charged political rhetoric. I'm not sure I buy it. I think, for example, the actions of the shooters at Columbine High School were the result of some serious mental instability, not a message about the plight of our poor public education system.
Either way, we have to be careful. Those who believe it was Fox News or Rush Limbaugh or Sarah Palin who triggered the anger behind this attack might suggest that we all just shut up, not question what our government does, just go along with it - not rock the boat. I think that's just as dangerous. This is a Democracy. We need our voices.
On the other end? Maybe it is a good time for the Sarah Palins and the Rush Limbaughs of the world to not get defensive (too late) and take a sincere look at the messages they send. It's easy, in light of a tragedy like this, to throw up your hands and say "Wasn't me." I'm just not sure it gets us anywhere. I don't think we are so far gone in this country that we can't still engage in civil, albeit spirited, debate.
In this respect, I think we should be really taking our cues from our elected leaders. You people need to set the tone for how we discuss and handle politics in this country. If you can do that, I promise it will trickle down.