A year ago today, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat representing Arizona's 8th District, which includes Tucson, was holding a "Congress on Your Corner" (a Town Hall type meeting) with constituents when Jared Lee Loughner, a very disturbed 22 year old man opened fire into the crowd.
Loughner wounded nineteen people to include Congresswoman Giffords whom he shot in the head at point-blank range. He killed six people, among them a nine year old girl, Christina-Taylor Green, whose birth date was September 11, 2001.
Giffords' recovery has been just this side of miraculous no matter how you measure progress. She and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly (he has the Tang to prove it) will be joined by many of their neighbors as well as friends they haven't yet met for numerous memorial remembrances today for all the victims of that violence last year.
I'd like to believe there's a lesson in what happened and (more especially) in the response to the carnage that followed but I just don't see it, as hard as I've tried. Our political rhetoric, which may have set Loughner in motion down a path of no return, is just as hateful and hurtful now as it was in the days, if not years, that led up to the shooting.
The Video Vultures and Bloviaters on cable news of all political stripes have long since agreed that nothing they said about those with whom they disagree had any impact on the emotional and mental swamp Loughner carried around in his head. My mom says a guilty conscience needs no accuser and anything I'd offer about moral culpability at this point would be piling on. You can do the math.
The national election of 2012 will be different from any that has ever preceded it. Christina-Taylor Green, 9; Dorothy "Dot" Morris, 76; John Roll, 63; Phyllis Schneck, 79; Dorwan Stoddard, 76; and Gabriel "Gabe" Zimmerman, 30 won't be part of the discussion we should have as a nation on whom we select as our next President. Their deaths were not accidental or acts of nature, unless we include human nature. They are victims in our ongoing war of words whose consequences no one owns and no one can, or will, ever stop.