most people had a pretty normal weekend. they either watched the seahawks, ravens, packers and/or jets win the wildcard round, did some weekly grocery shopping, got drunk with friends and regretted the hangover the next morning, slept as much as they could, or had to work. but for 18 people, they're normal weekend turned into national tragedy.
if you haven't seen the news lately, or read the headlines, one of our congresswomen, Gabrielle Giffords, was shot, point-blank, in the head in what seems to be an attempt to make a political statement. the suspect is barely old enough to drink. a year younger than I am. and this young man wasn't finished after thinking he killed Mrs. Giffords. he went on to shoot 18 innocent people, killing 6 of them.
I heard the news while I was at the store. I immediately texted chris who grew up in Tucson, who has met Gabrielle Giffords. he tells me she's a nice lady and very respectful. it's hard for me not to feel the pain and anger and disgust with a community that I was once a part of. I remember my sophomore or junior year of college in Tucson, The Format held a free concert on University right next to campus. it was to educate students to vote and what to vote for. different candidates at the time stood up and spoke about their beliefs and what they would do. I was 10 feet from her, listening to her voice and stance on different issues. she was warm and inviting.
and now she is fighting for her life. although doctors are "very optimistic" about her recovery, it isn't going to be easy. her whole life is turned upside down now. and for what? for meeting with the people to hear their opinions and concerns. something all politicians and congressmen/women should do. and now how can they without speaking in fear? we were once a country based on freedoms, that people took advantage of. now we're a shattered country based on fear. we are not free. how are we a free country when the people we vote for can't even speak openly with the people? kids cannot be themselves, whether it be straight, gay, bisexual, whatever, without being bullied to the point they want to take their own life. you can't wish strangers "merry christmas" without being overly criticized and disgraced. we are not free. our country is infected with hate. rather than using words, people use violence. people believe the only way to have their voices heard, is to cause a tragic event.
it's hard for me to even try to understand what happened without crying. it's hard to be ok with the fact that this young man lived amongst us and had the heart to do something like this. it's difficult to fathom how someone could possess so much hate that they would go to such extremes. but what's hardest is the fact that there are many other people out there like him and this won't be the last time our country is shaken with tragedy. simply and sadly because not much will change. people will be outraged and in fear for maybe a year, if that much. but once the media has some other "breaking news" to talk about, most of us will forget. if you don't live in arizona and especially tucson, you will probably go about your every day lives without thinking twice about the victims.
the paper had several articles about the victims. about the 76 year old man who threw his body on top of his wife's to protect her and instead lost his. about the 79 year old women who was never that interested in politics, but admired Giffords and wanted "to get to know her." the 76 year old women who kept her political opinions quiet and went with her husband who was the one who wanted to hash out politics with Giffords. about the 30 year old aid to Giffords who organized these public events for Giffords to interact with the voters and who had his wedding date set in 2012. the 63 year old district judge who stopped by just to say "hi" to his friend. and about the 9 year old girl who had dreams of being the first women in major league baseball and was an aspiring politician herself, just being elected to her student council (she was born during tragedy on september 11, 2001 and died during tragedy). all these people went to talk to a politician who was reaching out to them to listen, something I think is very rare these days. all these people just started off a normal saturday.
I've been down and depressed lately and struggling to stay positive. I complained about my relationship and how lonely I felt. these families lost someone this weekend. and when I compare my life to theirs, I realize it's not so bad. I am, again, reminded that life is short. people take that for granted. I take that for granted.
I've learned the best way to mourn someone's death is to live the way they can't anymore. since my tata died, I try to live my life by improving my skills and always learning - how he lived his. and now I will protect those I love like Stoddard did. I will stay active and volunteer when I get older like Schneck did. I will travel like Morris did. I will love and help others like Zimmerman did. I will stay loyal to my friends like Roll did. and I will follow my dreams like Green would have.