It’s hard to find the exact words to express the kind of weekend this was. When my wife and I first saw the news break concerning the shooting in Arizona we went from disbelief to shock to anger and finally profound sadness. On Sunday my wife saw a snippet of an interview with the father of 9 year old Christina Taylor Green who was murdered during the attempted assassination of Gabrielle Giffords. As Christina’s father described his daughter and her life (She was born on 9/11), my wife and I quietly wept. Painful. So incredibly painful.
The thing that has always amazed me about Americans is when we rally around each other during great tragedy. I saw evidence of this during the Oklahoma City Bombing, 9/11, and now. The thing that equally amazes me is how much we blame each other, or a political party, or a system that either is or isn’t in place that somehow caused or should have stopped a crazed person as this. Disgusting. Just disgusting behavior. We can’t always know what tragedy will unfold at the hands of others. We just can’t.
When my wife and I first heard the news of the shooting I immediately got on the internet. I figured I’d see some up-to-date reporting on some of the major news agencies. What surprised me, and led me to blog something that was inaccurate, was the amount of misinformation that was being spewed all over the internet by these major networks as well as on television. I’m sure many Americans heard what I heard on television (Thankfully no one put this in print): “Gabrielle Giffords was shot point blank with a shotgun to the head, she has died, her husband–Mark E. Kelly–is on his way to the hospital in Arizona.”
See the Video in this link on the lower left part of the page that details the death report, then later a retraction:
At first, upon realizing the above information was completely and totally inaccurate, my wife and I were outraged. I was outraged at the fact that news organizations have a tremendous responsibility to be accurate in what they report to its viewers and in this instance they were not. After the range of emotions, my wife and I had a solemn, mournful period maintaining silence over what we heard about a public servant, a little girl, and a judge among several others who were murdered with a shotgun. Later that day came the truth: Gabrielle Gibbons was alive. She’s alive? Yes, she was alive. She was not shot with a shotgun. I had blogged that she had passed. My anger grew throughout the day. I got sucked into the business of reporting when I should have stuck to blogging. That was my fault. I also trusted the media. That too was my fault.
That evening it struck me like a lightning bolt in a wet, empty field that spiders its electrical pulse as far as it can go: What if Gabrielle’s husband heard the same thing while on his way to the hospital? What if he heard his wife was dead, shot at point blank by a shotgun. Oh God, please let that not be true. Please God. I couldn’t imagine. I couldn’t imagine what that may have felt like. What would happen if the same thing happened to my wife and I had heard the news say she was dead? What would I think in hearing she was shot point blank in the head with a shotgun? Horrible. Horrifying. Sad. I am thankful she has lived, and he’s had the ability to see his wife alive.
No matter what I feel or what I say the only people who have a right to feel or say anything about the Arizona tragedy are the people who were there, and the loved ones who know those people. As I have learned from this, so should politicians and news media: Shut up. If you’re going to do anything do this: Report what you know and only what you know, send your good thoughts or prayers, and help. Stop reporting inaccuracies. Stop blaming liberals by stating they were involved in the Arizona tragedy to gain sympathy. Stop blaming conservatives by stating they were involved in the Arizona tragedy in order to eliminate an opponent. Be responsible. Be good…Please.
As you can see I added some Tweets throughout my blog posting. This last one was the most interesting to me. Apparently Rush Limbaugh has never had anything to say via Twitter. Weird.