Last Saturday, while I was sitting in our monthly Home Owners Association Meeting someone I follow on Twitter (yes, I check Twitter while attending HOA meetings. Don’t judge me!) tweeted that a Congressman had been shot in Arizona. The post came in form of a question as it had only been a rumor at that point.

By the time I came home from our meeting details had emerged and it became increasingly clear that a gunman had attacked Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in front of a neighborhood supermarket in Tucson, had shot her point blank in the head and gunned down several bystanders afterwards.

I have to admit that I would not have known who Gabrielle Giffords is had it not been for Sarah Palin’s now infamous Crosshair map, a map on which she had put a target on Gabrielle Giffords, in addition to 19 other Congress people.

And only three days prior to the attack I listened to and interview with the Congresswoman on NPR while driving home from a doctor’s appointment. She had been talking about the GOP’s plan to repeal the Health Care Reform bill and told her Republican colleague that she had been reelected to serve for third term as a Democrat in a red state, even though she had voted for the Health Care Reform bill last year.

When I heard about what had happened in Tucson it sent chills down my spine. Not only had a member of congress been shot in the head but 19 bystanders had been wounded, 6 fatally, while the gunman unloaded his semiautomatic weapon into the crowd. I feel strongly that every life counts the same but of all the victims that had been fatally wounded none is more heart breaking than the death of 9- year old Christina Taylor Green, a young girl who got interested in politics during President Obama’s campaign and subsequent election. A girl born on September 11, 2001…

In the days since the internet has been swamped with opinions from the left and right as to how this tragedy could have happened and why. Some think that the ever increasingly violent language of certain political and media heads could have motivated the gunman.

Personally I believe that this was the act of a deranged and very troubled young man, a single act of violence in an era where a mentally unstable person can walk into a store and buy a semi automatic weapon and 300 rounds of ammunition without much difficulty. Something is very wrong with this!

I also strongly believe that although Jared Lee Loughner is solely responsible for what he did it does not mean that maps with Crosshairs targeting individuals, language of wanting people armed and dangerous while taking a stand against the Government have any place in a civilized society where we elect officials by a democratic process. This is especially true for public servants!
And as long as we as a nation treat mental illness as a stigma rather than the very real sickness it is we will continue to find ourselves horrified by the outcome of untreated individuals who live in the shadows of society and have the same access to guns and ammunition as they do to socks and shirts.

Last Saturday the unspeakable happened outside a supermarket in beautiful Tucson. 14 people were wounded, 6 were killed and we watched the news with sadness and shock. And then last night there was this:

And once more I was reminded why I am beyond proud that I helped get this man elected! With all the ugliness we witness daily and the sorrow we feel when the unspeakable happens, we have a President that rises above the ever present critics, their often foul and vile language and their outrageous lies, and shows us how to lead with poise, intelligence and compassion. We are indeed lucky!

Meanwhile in Alaska…*

Today’s Running Tip: There will be no running tip today!

* it is too grotesque for words!

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