Sunday, January 9, 2011

Hate Speech In Politics Has Consequences

Like lancing a boil, the vitriol spewed by major political parties and media pundits came to a head in Tucson, Arizona yesterday and exploded in violence. A young man shot and killed 6 people, including a 9 year old girl, wounded a congresswoman from the state gravely and left many others wounded. Imagine going to a shopping center on a lovely, sunny Arizona winter day, perhaps to shop, or to see your representative in the U.S. Congress visit with her constituents. A simple outing...a good way to spend a Saturday! Death and violence wouldn't have even entered your mind, just looking forward to an enjoyable day out and about in the warm sunshine!

I watched a video of the 9 year old girl's mother being questioned by phone by a reporter and she said when they called her to tell her to come to the hospital where her daughter died, she thought that they had been in an auto accident. Her daughter had gone to the shopping center with a neighbor, as she had been elected to the student council at school and wanted to listen to the congresswoman and hoped to learn more about public service. This young girl was killed by a gunshot to the chest, by a young man who decided to get his 15 minutes of fame and make his statement. That just about says it all. They always like to say that guns don't kill people, people kill people, but imagine for a moment that the young man had no gun...he wouldn't have caused so much death, suffering and heartbreak.

Our society as become so negative and hateful over the past few years, there is no tolerance for anyone who is not of the same race or belief. Civility has been replaced by weapons and the media news has been replaced by hate mongers who shout about what "those" people are doing to our country. Mental health care for people who need it is almost non-existent, perhaps the young man needed help and was unable to find it...or maybe he has been filled with hatred and never learned to deal with adversity. We can ponder all of these things, but it doesn't make what happened in Tucson any easier to comprehend. I have been wondering ...and sadly...waiting for something like this to happen, hatred is an awful weight to carry. My firm hope is that this horrible event will open people's eyes and help them realize that tolerance and understanding is needed in our daily lives. Imagine that that sweet little 9 year old girl was your daughter gone for an outing with a neighbor...and then gone, dead by a gunman's hand.

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