Today at church my nine year old's Sunday school teacher approached me and asked where Phoebe was this morning, she missed her. I told her with a grin that Phoebe was in Phoenix with her father this weekend. She wrinkled her brow and gave me a worried look and said, "Well I hope she's okay!"
I grinned weakly and walked away, not saying what I should have. Which is; Arizona is not a state under siege. In fact most of the nine year olds in Arizona are just fine.
The tragic shooting that occurred yesterday, resulting in 6 deaths and numerous injuries was just that, a horrible tragedy. My heart goes out to the victims and their families. Now the politics of this horrible event ensues, where we talk about hate speech, and gun control and Sarah Palin. No one of course will mention the struggles of the mentally ill. How difficult it is to get diagnosis and treatment, or even to get someone like Jared Loughner safely committed before he does any harm.
When I was attending class at the School of Visual Arts in NYC in 1990, there was a young white woman in one of my classes that hailed from South Africa. I'm ashamed to say I immediately assumed she was a horrible racist, supported aparthied, and wasn't someone I wanted to know. Is any of that true? I don't know, but I do know I should have given her a chance. I was really wrong not to. Just as anyone who speaks ill of the residents of Arizona are wrong. I know many of them. They are hard working people, who pay their bills and love their family and friends. They live in one of our country's most beautiful states and we should as a nation come together and support them in this time of tragedy.
"People are willing to take these extraordinary chances to become writers, musicians, or painters, and because of them, we have a culture. If this ever stops, our culture will die, because most of our culture, in fact, has been created by people that got paid nothing for it--people like Edgar Allan Poe, Vincent Van Gogh or Mozart."-Kurt Vonnegut