Sunday, January 09, 2011

Thoughts from Tucson

We are numb in Tucson - collectively and individually.

This is a community of a million people but in so many ways it is still a small town. There is a sense of identity here that we tell ourselves is missing in the megalopolis that Phoenix has become. We know our neighbors and our neighborhoods. When the first news reports came in, I recognized the shopping center - we had lunch at a deli there a couple weeks ago. When reports said an aide of Rep. Giffords was reported killed, I thought, that could be Gabe. A neighbor of ours has worked with Judge Roll. Carol across the street is an emergency room nurse at University Medical Center where many of the victims were taken. Tucson is extended family.

The events of yesterday are still playing out. I hesitated turning on the radio early this morning - whose name would be added to the list of those shot or killed? We are still waiting to hear the list of those injured in the shootings. We are waiting to understand why this happened.

The first time I met Gabrielle Giffords, I was immediately struck by how tiny she is. And how exuberant, inquisitive, and engaged she is. But it was mainly Gabe Zimmerman in her office that I worked with. I briefed him on new reports we published that had impacts on issues they were dealing with. He'd let me know of forums that the Congresswoman was holding on science and technology or renewable energy or new legislation that was coming up.

More broadly, are yesterday's events the start of the end of an era of hateful and inflammatory language in American politics, or is it the start of a new phase in which the rhetoric of violence is turned to action?


  1. Lee,
    Let's hope that it is the end of a horrible era. My thoughts are with you and all in Tucson. It is a very sad day for America, democracy, and Arizona.

  2. I hope it won't be just business as usual, once the initial shock wears off. Mudslinging in politics seems to be the norm, but it bugs me to hear people taking the anti-government rhetoric so far, these days. People should always prod our government to be better, not turn officials into scapegoats.

  3. I pray that this is not the start of a new epoch of violence. My thoughts are with all the victims, their families, and all of the people who have been affected by this tragedy.

  4. I pray that people use this as a turning point towards civil discourse. Partisan hyperbole is never useful and needs to be replaced, now. So terribly sorry for the victims, and the greater Tucson community, who has always been welcoming to me.