Like most of you, the news left me horrified and sick to my stomach. Over the weekend, a lunatic took a gun and killed three men and three women, and left a young, vibrant, popular congresswoman struggling for her life. The murder was indiscriminate, including a 76 year-old man and a 9-year old little girl. Thirteen others were wounded.
Almost as sickening as the awful tragedy has been the media and the politicians’ reaction to it. Immediately, people stood up on their pulpits and made bold pronouncements. It was this political party’s fault. No, it was that radio talk show’s fault. No, it was the fault of our government. I’d say that hearing some of the people talk was like hearing children on the playground fighting, but that’d be an insult to children on the playground. For some of these “talking heads” to use this tragedy as a means to further their own political agendas was disappointing and a tragic reflection of the very abuse of free speech they are supposedly champions of. I couldn’t take any more. I shut off the TV, the radio, and the Internet over the weekend.
Make no mistake. There was one person at fault: the madman who pulled the trigger.
So of all the voices out there, there is only one voice I trust at this point in time. It’s the voice of the person whom I know was the most reluctant spokesman of all.
On behalf of Gabby and our entire family, I want to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the people of Arizona and this great nation for their unbelievable outpouring of support. Gabby was doing what she loved most – hearing from her constituents – when this tragedy occurred. Serving Southern Arizonans is her passion, and nothing makes her more proud than representing them in Congress.
Like all Americans, we mourn the loss of Judge John M. Roll, Christina Taylor Green, Dorothy Morris, Phyllis Schneck, Dorwan Stoddard and Gabe Zimmerman, a fine man and beloved member of Gabby’s team. We must never forget them, and our prayers are with their families. Our hearts go out to everyone injured yesterday; we hope and pray for their quick recovery. We also extend our thanks and appreciation to all of the first responders, medical personnel, law enforcement, and Arizona citizens who acted swiftly on Saturday and continue to assist our community through this tragedy. Many stories of heroism are emerging, and they are a source of strength for us during this difficult time. We are forever grateful.
Many of you have offered help. There is little that we can do but pray for those who are struggling. If you are inspired to make a positive gesture, consider two organizations that Gabby has long valued and supported: Tucson’s Community Food Bank and the American Red Cross.
The words, of course, are from Mark Kelly, Representative Giffords’s husband. He asks us to help in one way: to pray. And not to pray for some amorphous concept like justice or even our country or our society. No, pray specificaly for those who are struggling. The families of those six innocent men, women, and children who were murdered in cold blood, whose own lives were forever ripped apart. And those fourteen who are fighting for their lives right now. That is what will help right now.
Knowing that there will be some who want to do more, Mr. Kelly suggests a donation to one of Ms. Giffords’s favorite charities.
It was an amazing statement from a remarkable family. Even in their hour of pain, they make a point to think about the hungry, the suffering, and the sick among us. Instead of lashing out and turning their pain into anger and outrage (which was their right, and theirs alone), they showed the spirit of what it means to be a true American.
Please pray for Representative Giffords’ full recovery, as well as the others who are fighting for their lives right now. And let’s all learn from their example and unlike those who are throwing around loud and empty speeches, let’s quietly give of ourselves to help those who are in real need. The true way to combat evil is through doing good.