As you can see I’ve been away from the blogging world for a few weeks now. I was, as were the rest of the people in my home town of Tucson, strongly affected by the shootings that occurred on Saturday, January 8th. Since which time, I have sat down a number of times and started to put into words something, anything - thoughts, feelings, emotions, about what happened. I ended up with many partial, fragmented, disjointed Word documents that just went nowhere.
Rereading those half finished posts this morning, I’ve come to realize they pretty much represent how I’ve felt the past few weeks, fragmented and disjointed. Too much to say and no words to say it with.
Reading my partial drafts I noticed a progression, a difference in tone and topic in each one, though always about the same subject. So much emotional variation over the past 2 weeks.
The first draft is filled with questions. What? Why? How? Who? How come? Who is to blame? Most of those questions have been answered. I accept some never will be. And, I realize though I wanted to blame everyone and everything, really, in the end, the only one responsible for what happened is the one that chose to pull the trigger.
The next post was filled with grieving for 13 injured and 6 killed; a 9 year old girl with so much promise and a wonderful neighbor who wanted to share politics with her, a loving husband who died protecting his wife, and a politician that I actually liked. Damn it. Tears soaked my keyboard that day.
One draft is filled with angry words and questions. How dare someone murder people, innocent people, in my town? How dare a supposed man of God picket a 9 year old girl’s funeral with signs saying it was God’s will she was shot dead and the killer was doing God’s work? That is a God I never want to meet. Responses to judgmental comments about the “pep rally” at the U of A with President Obama.
Then a more reasoned post with calmer tone and answers to some of the angry questions previously written. In regards to the Kansas hate spewing preacher, my friend summed it up best, “you can’t be, or even claim to be, religious if you don’t have any humanity.” In regards to the insulting comments about the president of the U of A, who spoke specifically to this town, and the native professor, who offered the lovely blessing, a conversation with my sister summed that one up best. “That ceremony was a classic Tucson event, it was for the town and not the rest of the world. Those looking in and judging can go suck it.” Not always poetic, but often straight to the point.
The most recent post, consisted of 6 pride-filled paragraphs about the people of my community and how they responded with an out-pouring of compassion, community cohesiveness, Tucson pride and local spirit, and moral support. Angels that lined the roadsides at the funerals so the mourners wouldn’t see the picketers. Everyday people that did extraordinary things in the face of panic, fear, and confusion, like the two men who tackled the shooter (after hitting him with a chair, heh), the unassuming woman that took the clip away and the citizens that provided first aid before the paramedics arrived on scene. Donations to the local food bank that have reached over $90,000 in the name of Gabby Giffords. The visible show of support in the form of the memorials around town. And also about the Congresswoman, who gave her would be assassin the big middle finger by beating all odds and living. That’s a true representative of this town.
Writing this now, I realize I am still harboring all those feelings I did not realize I had expressed in writing in my non-published drafts over the past 2 weeks. My heart raced as I thought of the fear those people must have felt when they realized what was happening. My key strokes were little harder than necessary as anger flooded me thinking of the wasted life, the anti-human picketers, and the killer. I had a hard time seeing the monitor through the tears filling my eyes as I thought of those killed and injured. My chest puffed out with pride thinking of my town and how they have handled this unspeakable and horrific event. And I even smirked as I thought of the primary goal of the killer being taken from his grasp and him living the rest of his life knowing he failed in this as well, as Gabby starts rehab and 12 other people have left the hospital. And regret, as I sit and wish there had been 6 more to walk away that day.