In case you didn’t know it, I was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, and unless you’ve been inside a bubble for the last day, you know why I’m bringing this up.
I’ve driven by that Safeway countless times. I got married right down the street from it. And now it’s on CNN.
It’s been a little bit of a roller coaster of emotion for the last day or two. I just moved to Portland, OR on Friday for a temporary (~4 month) work assignment, without my wife, which is emotional enough.
I can’t really isolate the exact reason I’ve gotten so worked up about this. I think it’s a lot of things, really.
I remember when Gabrielle Giffords was first elected in what was then my own Congressional District, and is still the district of my parents, my brother, my grandmother, and probably several of my cousins, aunts, and uncles. The 8th district in Arizona is a very heterogenous district. It is mainly composed of the north and east sides of Tucson, as well as a significant portion of the rural southeastern portion of the state. It’s slightly Republican leaning. As you can imagine, Giffords is a centrist Democrat, and as I payed more attention to her, I became more and more proud to have her as my congresswoman. She was the definition of sanity. When she won reelection this year, it was a testament to her political skill.
So there’s that: a sadness for Gabby herself.
Then there was the little girl, which is too sad for me to even write about, so you’ll have to read it here.
Then there was this story of a man laying on top of his wife to protect her from bullets. He was successful, but was fatally wounded in the process.
There’s the great work of an intern, which may have helped save Giffords from dying on the spot.
There’s the great work of the team of doctors at UMC, where I’m pretty sure I was born.
But I think the thing that’s been really amplifying this is that this is my hometown. My brother is a deputy in Pima County. This is his sheriff at this press conference. What if this happened when he was on duty? Would he have run into this guy? My dad is a manager for Safeway. What if this was his store? What could have happened to him? My friends and family could have been shopping at this store.
I think when things like this happen, we all try to create a disconnect in our head. It’s too tragic and senseless to want to really think about, and seeing it on TV somehow makes it less real. That’s just the nature of our brains, I think.
But when that connection gets hooked up, like for me it has just by sheer familiarity with the location, it’s all that much more real. It hits close to home, as they say.
I wanted to say something more about hyperbole and rhetoric, but then I read this Matt Bai piece, and it pretty much sums up what I was going to say, which is good, because I think I’ll try to escape a little tonight.
It’s just too sad.