In every tragedy, there were no winners. As the curtain closed all involved had been scarred, and some died.
But I suppose relegating it to the metaphor of theater is insulting, to the victims who survived, to those who did not and even the perpetrator—that poor, sick kid whose calls for help went ignored or unnoticed, depending on your point of view. No matter how much the media dramatizes it, this was real life: raw, rough and unfettered, that creates in us all the illusion of control until of course it doesn’t.
I remember that morning very well. My brother and I had just picked up from my sister-in-law a futon for my daughter. Our route to and from her home took us along Ina, right by the Safeway where the shooting occurred. By some misstep of timing or providence, we managed to just miss the incident. I’d even glanced that way, noting the movement of signs and furniture around the store, perhaps for the Rep. Giffords’ meet-and-greet that, later on, went horribly wrong.
It sickened me, the senselessness of it all. Really, though, how can any of us attempt to reason out the motivations of the insane? I think what sickened me more was the political hollowness of the aftermath. Both sides, of course, took to their pulpits, decrying the violence and calling for bipartisanship.
But what were the results? As far as I can see, partisan haranguing has only gotten worse, if anything. The worst, though, were the parasites, who tried to use the incident to further their own agendas. They said it was about this or about that or about the other thing. How can you scumbags sleep at night? It wasn’t about anything, fools. It was a meaningless, awful act of senselessness in its most horrible form.
For the sake of full disclosure, I voted for Gabrielle Giffords. While I can’t say I agreed with all of her stances, I knew that I viewed Randy Graf as too rightwing and someone who would only contribute to the fascistic factionalism on Congress I so despise. Besides, foreshadowing things to come the local Republican Party just couldn’t get its act together and was more enmeshed with infighting than anything else.
Still, even if you didn’t agree with her politics, I think that to not feel for her, the victims and yes even the perpetrator Jared Loughner, to make out the shooting one year ago as anything but the meaningless act that it was, makes you something less than human. Should Loughner be made to take his meds? Should he spend the rest of his life in the loony bin or get the needle? Should we pray for him with the same earnestness that we have his victims? I don’t know. I think, though, that at the very least he deserves our pity.
In the end it’s all most of us have to give.
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