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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 1/9/11

The Arizona Shooting: What it Could Mean to All of Us

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Whether or not congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was actually the intended target of Jared Lee Loughner's shooting rampage on Saturday, January 8 2011, or whether the politician and her team just happened to be the unfortunate victims of Loughner's violent shooting outburst is not yet clear at the time this article is posted for publication. However, as matters currently stand, the entire occurrence is already dreadful on countless levels, and no specifics will undo the tragedy it represents.

Arizona Rep. Giffords was shot through the brain during the shooting rampage, and was clinging to life at the time of this writing. The doctor involved announced that he was positive and hopeful that Giffords would pull through. The entire picture, however, was rather devastating: six people were killed; 13 wounded. Among the killed were federal judge John Roll, and a nine year old schoolgirl, Christina Taylor Green, who had big dreams, and who was born on another unfortunate day: 9/11.

Reading through the many articles that address this issue, I found that the emphasis was mainly laid on three points:

1.        The possibility of tragedies such as this one, 9/11, the Oklahoma bombing, and others.

2.        Potential political developments and lessons resulting from this tragedy

3.        Questioning of the mental attitude we have come to nurture in our day and age.

The approaches in the articles were as colorful as the rainbow: one article was suggesting ways in which President Obama could score politically in his statements about this appalling act; another was citing Arizona sheriff Dupnik who commented on the derailment of the local mentality and the concerning growth of bigotry and prejudice; and a third was discussing how Keith Olbermann launched a passionate speech in his daily show Countdown, where he made a passionate plea to all media personalities and the American people to put the guns down and do away with gun metaphors.

Overall, there are some important facts we, as members of a cohort living here and now, should acknowledge in heated moments like these:

1.        It is practically impossible to completely eradicate tragedies of this or any other nature, because there will always be loners or groups with alternative orientations out there, who will engage in unexpected, disturbing acts. This is not to justify what happened, but rather a remote view of life and its unpredictabilities in general.

2.          Point 1 above notwithstanding, we should indeed take the message that radiates from these disturbing occurrences to heart, and use it to elevate our awareness - and those of the people we can influence - about the fact that the human cohort is an interconnected one, and that we should not wait for these moments to realize it. We may, for instance, consider reviewing our traditionally acquired focus on curbed thinking ("me" versus "you" instead of "us"), while we do our best to come across as broadminded.

3.        We could also rethink the ease with which we expose ourselves -" and our offspring -" to movies, games, toys, and literature, that consider the use of weapons and the act of harming others one of the normal facets of life.

As a final note, here are some points to ponder:

This is not a moment to lash out to anything or anybody: it is a moment to contemplate and refocus.

This is not a moment to think of political- or any other advancement that can be made: it is a moment to think of our overall wellbeing as inhabitants of the earth, and where we want to go from here.

This is not a moment to seek fault in generational, sexual, ethnic, cultural, educational, financial, or other differences: it is a moment to send positive thoughts to all who have been involved, and wish them and their families a decent recovery from this disaster.

This is not a moment to be angry -" either at the government, the media, the perpetrator, or ourselves: it is a moment to reach out to one another with renewed energy.

This, most of all, is not a moment to give up, because we cannot afford to. It is a moment to thank those who passed on for what they have meant to us; for what they taught and still teach us; and to ensure a better future from here onward.

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Joan Marques is the author of "Joy at Work, Work at Joy: Living and Working Mindfully Every Day" (Personhood Press, 2010), and co-editor of "The Workplace and Spirituality: New Perspectives in Research and Practice" (Skylight Paths, 2009), an (more...)
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