Sunday, January 09, 2011

"A Tragedy for our Entire Country"

That is what President Obama said about the shooting in Arizona yesterday morning. Here is one version of the story the AP released: CLICK HERE but I'm sure you've heard about it so I won't go into details. Basically, the gunman was out to assassinate Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. She, along with thirteen others, were wounded. Six were killed.

Of course there will be fallout about gun control, Democrats Vs. Republicans, the Tea Party, perhaps even smoking pot (as the shooter was known to do). Anything we can cling on to to try and make sense of why someone would go on a shooting spree.

The other day, my husband and I were watching Grey's Anatomy. It was an episode about a kid who went on a shooting rampage at a local college. Happily but unrealistically, no one died. The biggest conflict occurred when a patient in major surgery was identified as the shooter. Half of the doctors left, choosing to help the victims instead of the shooter. But two remained, taking their Hippocratic oaths to heart. Then it showed what was going on in the waiting room, which of course was filled with the friends and family of the victims. And the mother of the shooter. As she's waiting to hear if her son is alive or dead, the police take her away for questioning. Of course she is mortified. But she's still a mother. No one is sitting with her, not a single doctor is giving her updates on her son's condition. The woman keeps it together a lot better than most people in her shoes would, I believe. Then, as she's sitting there in her own private hell, a doctor approaches her (one of the ones who left the surgery room before) and gives her the news she so badly wants to hear: her son is still alive. At that very moment, that's all she cared about. Her baby was still alive.

I think a lot of times when we struggle to make sense of why such horrific tragedies happen, we look to other stories we're familiar with. Some are ground in factual history (Columbine), some might be Biblical, others are fictionalized accounts (like the Grey's Anatomy episode).

Personally, I'm not going to blame any one political view or a young man's drug habit. I'm not going to demand stricter legislation for guns. Not now. Right now, I'm praying for everyone involved, either directly or by association. I truly believe that's how I can make a difference.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful post, Wendy.

Wendy Toliver said...

Thank you. I just read a really great post on the same subject by (awesome author) Carrie Jones here

Danielle M Vaughn said...

feel the same way... So difficult to learn about tragedies and try to make sense of what to think/feel, who to blame and so forth. I like your approach of taking a step back, inviting grace into people's lives for those who are hurting.

Suma Subramaniam said...


What a touching post. Can't agree with you more about prayer.


nymfaux said...

Thanks for sharing this Wendy--There seems to be so much craziness going on right now, it's nice to hear someone taking a step back and praying for the best, instead of jumping all over looking for who to blame--The week after Thanksgiving, a young boy in my hometown took his high school classroom hostage--It was something that really hit too close to home and really reinforced that these incidents aren't just happening somewhere else where we can pretend it didn't happen, or won't happen here, and we can all go on with our lives. The truth is, we're a lot more connected than we think--I wrote about it on my blog, hoping that people can start reaching out to each other, knowing that they're not alone, and trying not to let anyone get "lost" in the system.

nymfaux said...

on a slightly separate tangent, I watched the same Grey's episode, and was also kind of thinking of it as unrealistic, but then I remembered that they said there were a lot of victims, and many of the victims were split between different hospitals--so it wasn't necessarily saying that there weren't ANY casualties, just not at THEIR hospital. Not that the distinction makes it much more realistic, but at least in tv land I finally felt that the characters, who for most of the season seem to have been rather aimless and lost, REALLY seemed to find some relief and closure after last season's traumatic ending.
--I'm guessing that the timing of this episode has probably connected to a lot of people--At least in a story like this, people can generally find answers, the "why" things happened, because real life is rarely so clear.

justine said...

Hi! I'm from France (so sorry for my bad English).
I find that your guns culture is "weird" because in france, firearms aren't allowed and legacy.
And I think the availability of guns is horrible, because it's an other culture and I'm not used to hear things about guns. The school shootings are horrible and terrifying... I can't imagine that to happen in my high school. It's impossible.
Anyway, I wish I could go to USA but the shootings scare me a little...
Do all the Amercicans don't care about that? Because when I see American movies, there is always guns...
It is a worrying trend.
To my mind, firearms have to be forbidden, don't you think that? Maybe no because you're used to guns in your country.

nymfaux said...

@Justine--first off, you are totally rockin' the English!!!

I posted about the hostage situation that took place at my old high school--so I can't say it doesn't happen, but I think these incidents are just as shocking to us as they are to the rest of the world--and while it might seem like a lot--ONE incident like this is too many--for the most part these incidents are rare.

You are right about it being part of our culture and legacy--and there are a lot of philosophical issues that go with it.

--We do care--A LOT.

But outside of television and movies, it's not really an issue that most of us deal with on a day-to-day basis--most of us go through our entire lives without encountering anything like this.

I feel safe where I live, I've traveled a lot, and I can't think of a time where I felt unsafe...please don't let fear hold you back from doing the things you want to do and going the places you want to go!!!!

And as for the movies, try watching some of the romances and comedies. :)