Hi there. I need to take a departure from focusing on health, wellness, and other physical weighty things, and turn to something a little more emotionally weighty.
My name is Stephanie and I live in Tucson, Arizona. I moved here from a smallish community in Michigan in 1992 because I fell in love with the beautiful mountains, the amazing desert, oh yeah, and because I wanted to get the heck out of snow filled winters. ;) But, most importantly, I fell in love with the people. It had that small town feel of a community where you talked to one person and chances where they knew someone you knew.
Since I’ve been here, Tucson’s population has grown to over 1 million people, but it’s kept that small town vibe which is fantastic.
Why is all this important to be sharing? Because on Saturday, January 8, 2011, my town became the epicenter of national news. My congresswoman and 19 other peoples lives were forever impacted because of one person. My town has been effected in ways that I can’t even begin to imagine, because the literal and figurative wounds are still too fresh to even begin to think of healing.
If event itself weren’t bad enough, my town, the innocent bystanders who were in the wrong place at the wrong time, a 9 year old girl for cripes sake, is the becoming the target of a hate group/cult that is descending on Tucson to proclaim to all that we deserved this. That SHE deserved this.
And I am glad, they’re coming, in an odd way, I am glad that this happened... Before you start throwing things at me, hear me out. I am not in any way, shape or form, happy people are dead or injured. It saddens me immensely! I have been carrying around sorrow and anger and fear since Saturday morning. Any time an emergency vehicle rushes by, my heart races. I find myself wondering the what ifs and whys that can’t be resolved. I’ve had a knot in my stomach for days that isn’t showing signs of lessening any time soon.
But because of this horrible tragedy; despite a surge of finger pointing, questioning, and blaming; in the midst of being attacked by a contingent from Kansas, my town, my community, is pulling together like never before. In an instant all labels were evaporated. Young, old, rich, poor, fat, thin, man, woman, geek and freak... all gone when the first literal shot was fired, and only people were left. Strangers have found a small piece of common ground, and I hope and pray that it grows and builds, so we start seeing each other and so we know that we are not alone in this journey and are there for each other.
My neighbors - all million plus of them - are taking the act of one person, or a small group, and using it to motivate them to action, as a chance to say “We’re still here.” In the way that the horrible acts of a few people roused a nation September 11, 2001, the tragedy of January 8, 2011, is bringing a group of individuals together again as a community to protect itself.
To prove that one person may be capable of unspeakable horrors. But another IS capable of amazing acts that will motivate and strengthen the bonds of this world.