Reflections On The Tragedy In Tucson And Thoughts On Where To Go From Here

by: Marlene email

Here on the Eastern Shore of Virginia,  as I imagine it must be  everywhere throughout the country,  there is a lot of sadness and reflection about the tragic shootings in Tucson, Arizona.  It’s hard to believe that it occurred just a week ago this morning because it seems so much longer to me. And perhaps it is so vivid to me because I have family in Arizona and have traveled to Tucson  several times.   I can really see in my mind’s eye the sunny day,  the pleasant temperatures,  probably near 70,  skies so blue,   views of mountains in the distance,  hustle and bustle of a  Saturday morning  at  a  busy shopping center,  grocery carts clattering  to and from the parking lot,  cheerful  people lining up to speak to their representative,  Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.  “Congress On Your  Corner”,   her  large sign,  inviting  folks  to stop and chat .   And then,  in an instant,  a  gun clip fired its 30 rounds ,  shattering  lives forever,  killing 6, wounding 13,  in the space of only about one minute.

The most public face of the dead,  Christina Green,  just nine years old,  a  9/11 child,  happy, energetic,  such a bright future ahead,  her life cut off almost before it began,  mourned nationwide,  eloquently eulogized by President Obama,  visions of her skipping through pudddles in Heaven.   One of the newspaper stories I read mentioned  that her family had reached out to the New Melleray Abbey whose Trappist monks make caskets by hand from the trees in their forest,  including caskets for children,  which they often donate to the families.  For each casket recipient,  the monks  plant a memorial tree in their sustainable forest.   A tiny bit of  comfort,  a  Christina Taylor Green Memorial Tree in the Melleray Abbey forest.   The public face of the survivors, Congresswoman Giffords. Gabby to her friends,  the main target of the shootings, she was a popular and helpful woman,  recently  re-elected,  just sworn in,  no doubt looking forward to speaking with her constituents at her  “Congress On Your Corner” meeting to be held in the parking lot, now blood-stained, in front of that busy Safeway  supermarket. Her fate now ? Permanent brain damage, the extent of which is as yet unknown. What a travesty !

In the aftermath,  as a significant  part of the national  conversation turns now to what might  be done to reduce the prospects of even more such violence and mass murder,  I find myself wondering,  as are many others,  why  is the  sale of 30 round ammunition clips  legal ?    Surely not for killing animals, shotguns and rifles are used for that.   It appears that what it is  just perfect for is killing people, quickly, very, very quickly killing people.   I’ve read that Virginia apparently has some of the most lax gun laws in this country- I have no idea whether or not that is true.  I do know that deer hunting in Northampton County, Virginia  is legal only with a shotgun and shotguns don’t take 30 round clips.  The right to bear arms is guaranteed in the United States Constitution but I don’t think I read anywhere in that document about a guaranteed right to bear a 30 round ammo clip.

 It seems to me that right now,  while intense national attention is focused on this issue,  when Congress seems to be  paying attention as well  ( especially since their personal safety issues might actually trump pressure  from the NRA lobby this time ) , that right now  is the time to try to ban this type of ammunition.  Apparently Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy of New York, whose husband and son were both gunned down in a shooting spree on the Long Island Railroad some years ago,  is planning to introduce legislation next week  which will limit the sale of this over-the-top ammunition,  which is a huge money maker for the gun industry  but is so devastatingly efficient  in mass killings.  Hopefully, if  it actually gets to a vote, our Virginia representatives will remember the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre where the gunman,  using  a semi-automatic Glock handgun and 30 round ammunition clips, both similar to  that used by the Tucson gunman,  killed 32 people,  mostly university students and professors, in Blacksburg, Virginia, also on a bright, sunny morning.   So,  Bravo, Congresswoman McCarthy,  I hope you can gather the support needed to pass this legislation.  I hope the public, both here on the Eastern Shore of Virginia and throughout this country, is flooding Congress e-mails  supporting  your sensible measures.   How many more mass murders have to be endured before the rights of the public not to be shot,  rapid-fire,  no escape possible,  can  triumph over the money grubbing of the gun lobby ?   If not now, when ?    IF NOT NOW, WHEN  ???

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