A Tragic Saturday

January 8, 2011

Today my thoughts are with Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, her family, the other victims (a nine year old girl? really?), and their loved ones. This shooting really marks a dark day in the history and politics of the United States.

According to this Gawker article, a member of Giffords’ staff tackled the gunman. How very brave!

Some days, it is downright scary to think about raising my son in this world. Not every day; there are many days when I look around at the beauty, the good… and I think about our future and feel optimism and an overwhelming sense of hope.

But I’d be lying if I said there weren’t times that I can’t help but wonder, What horrific events will my son have to witness in his lifetime?

There were images I saw today that made me shake my head. For example:

This video, from March of last year, interviews Giffords after she was threatened and her office door was smashed in. It was right after she voted for the health care bill.

It’s a bit startling to watch that, knowing what happened less than a year later.

Media outlets, in a rush to get to the BREAKING NEWS first this afternoon, reported that Rep. Giffords had been pronounced dead. Except, well, she wasn’t. She was being rushed into surgery, which she survived.

Technology and the internet are wonderful tools, but they have changed how we received news. I bet most people heard about this event as a result of facebook or twitter or a blog post. And so it changes how the media handles events like this; if you spend too much time checking your sources and making sure what you report is true, one of your competitors will already have beat you to it. Your news is old news. People are linking to someone else’s news story.

And, in a few short years, I’m going to have to explain events like this to my son. How?

Here is a NY Times article about Rep. Giffords’ marriage to Mark Kelly just a few years ago. They seem very real. One of the photo captions even says, “The bride, an avid recycler, borrowed the gown.”

I wish her the best.

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