Editor's note: we had two posts ready for this weekend, one serious and one humorous, a "Top 9" about the incoming Governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley. VUI shelved those posts after what happened in Arizona. But, we do have something to say about that.
The shooting in Arizona still leaves big questions. What was the motivation? Who all was involved? What do the answers to those questions mean to American political discourse? All that will be found out in time. The incident is too fresh for anyone, of any political persuasion, to rush a to a judgment about the answers to those questions. But, there are some thoughts that can and should be expressed.
First, whatever the motivation or the nature of those involved, the Arizona incident was senseless and an affront to our way of doing things. Think on it. A member of Congress, doing her duty to the people she served, set up a table in a supermarket to talk with constituents. A federal Judge, of a different political party, but a friend, thought he would stop by to say hello to the Congresswoman after attending mass earlier. A little girl, just elected to her school student council, all of nine years old, was there to meet her member of Congress. A 30 year old aide was there to assist her boss in the meeting with constituents. People gathered around the table to voice their concerns to their Congresswoman. That is American. That is what we expect from our elected leaders and what makes America so special.
What happened in less than a minute, according to reports, is an outrageous affront to our American ideal. Multiple gunshots rang out. They left Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords critically wounded with a gunshot to the head. They killed Chief Judge John Roll, 63, Chistina Taylor Green, 9, Gabe Zimmerman, 30. Rev. Dorman Stoddard, 76, Dorothy Murphy, 76, and Phyllis Schnek, 79. According to reports another dozen were wounded. Police took in custody a man reportedly tackled by others at the scene, Jared Loughner, 22. The internet and cable news networks are filled with all sorts of things about the alleged gunman. But, it should be noted that police are looking for others, most notably a 40-50 year old man also at the scene.
As stated before, now is a time for investigators to do their work and we should wait until the facts come out before jumping to conclusions. There are political activists on both sides of the political scene already spinning this situation their way. Some on the left are saying the alleged gunman was inspired by the Tea Party and Sarah Palin. Some on the right are contending that the alleged gunman’s supposed words against God and the like make him a leftist. Ignore those pathetic people. They live to turn tragedy to their advantage and they ought to be ashamed of themselves.
But, there are some things that should be said. First, we ought to pray for Arizona and especially for the families and friends of those in this outrage. Second, we must say loudly that such nonsense is just not acceptable in political discourse and that anyone, for any reason, that kills a child especially, is just pure evil, period. That is not politics of any persuasion. That is evil.
Last, perhaps more importantly, as tragic as the event in Arizona was, we can not for one moment let that evil act, whatever its motivation, whoever was behind it, stop us from having a real dialogue with the people who lead us. They should not be afraid to do as Congresswoman Giffords, and set up meetings with the people they serve. Further, we should not be afraid to go to political meetings and let our voices be heard. That is the American way of life. Great powers have tried to stop it. High financed and well trained terrorist organizations have tried to stop it. Indeed, the American way of life has been bullied from within and without since its existence, but we always stand up and keep our idea of freedom alive. Along with our prayers, we Americans owe those good folks in Arizona our commitment to keep the American ideal of political freedom alive. God be with the people of Arizona, especially the family of that little girl.