At a little over 10 am on clear, sunny day, the 8th of January, 2011, at a suburban strip plaza in Tucson, AZ, a deranged and unstable individual opened fire at Congressional Representative Gabrielle Giffords and other bystanders, killing six and seriously wounded at least twelve others, including Rep Giffords, who, at the time of this writing, continues to cling to life.
The weapon deployed in this tragic and senseless act was allegedly a semi-automatic Glock 9 pistol. A gun.
Let me be clear.
It wasn't a gun that killed and maimed in the scene of horror.
It wasn't "rhetoric" or caustic blog postings, or political commentary for dramatic effect on video that compelled the perpetrator to act.
It was Jared Lee Loughner.
Deranged people fueled with an inner darkness only sometimes hinted at have been driven to acts of senseless and incomprehensible violence since the beginning of time.
They have used knives, machetes, ropes, garottes, swords, guns and any other tool of destruction that a heart stripped of humanity and filled only by a cold void can conjure.
They have been driven by any number of motivators only revealed in retrospect.
It is time to step back from the casting of aspersions and the imputing of malevolent intent to rivals.
It is time to express our sorrow and offer words of soothing and empathy to the families of the victims, and to offer our prayers for the healing of the injured, and to offer solace to those who had to witness such tragedy unfold.
It is a time to also open our hearts to the parents of this troubled young man.
It is a time for all of us to be bigger people and to mourn as one. Instead of this event diminishing and dividing us, we need to come together.
The sad marker of the events of January 8th should not be poisoned discourse.
One of the victims was a beautiful nine year old little girl, Christine Taylor Green, who was born on Sept 11, 2001.
9-11 was also a day of profound, heart-rending tragedy, but also a day when the entire nation, indeed, the entire world, stood as one to condemn evil and senseless violence.
It would be truly sorrowful if the closing of the chapter in the book of life on Earth of Christine Taylor Green, one of the "50 Faces of Hope", post 9-11, also marked the day that extinguished the flame of civility and empathy and the ability to rise above partisanship to join together as one to comfort and console.