I don't know if I had ever heard of Gabrielle Giffords before Saturday afternoon but the first tweet I saw made sure I would never forget the congresswoman from Arizona, it told me she was dead. Thankfully within minutes I heard that she was still alive but I also learned that a federal judge was dead, that a nine year old girl was dead*, and that three others were also dead. It seemed as if this country had again reached a turning point but the direction of that turn remains to be seen.
My heart goes out to Ms. Giffords, to all the victims, and to their families. Personally I see no reason to blame anybody for this tragedy other than the madman that pulled the trigger. Still some things do seem clear and one of those things is the fact that sadly I wasn't the least bit surprised that this had happened.
When so self styled leaders begin placing 'targets' on their opponents and their supporters carry guns to political rallies the thought of actually using those same weapons can't be far behind. In the end it doesn't matter if it was planned or if it was just some lone madman whose time for glory had come. When fear is used as the political weapon of choice those who use it have to be held partially responsible for the consequences of its use. Second amendment solutions, cross-hair covered maps, and violent rhetoric have no place in our politics because they created the environment in which that madman could pick up his gun and finally pull the trigger. Ultimately words do have far reaching consequences and always have.
George Santayana said "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" and this is as true of politics as anything else. Hopefully this nation learned something from that beloved decade that baby boomers seem to always crave a return to.
A more apt name would be the bloody sixties.
*The girl was Christina Taylor Green, granddaughter of former Philadelphia Phillies manager Dallas Green.