Perhaps you missed the note from Nance of Mature Landscaping in the comments on yesterday's post: elderblogger Ashleigh Burrows was one of the shooting victims in Tucson on Saturday.
Her daughter updated Ashleigh's blog, The Burrow, yesterday:
”My mom attended the Congress on your Corner event yesterday at her local Safeway. Just as she reached the front of the line to shake Ms. Gifford's hand a gunman appeared and began shooting with an automatic weapon. My mom was shot three times.
“She suffered a wound to her left chest, one to her abdomen, and a third to her right hip. She is incredibly lucky that none of her organs were hit, even though one of the bullet's entry wounds was in her abdomen. She has been taken care of by some fantastic and proficient doctors and nurses, and a wonderful social work team.”
If you haven't, you might want to bookmark Ashleigh's blog. I suspect her daughter will continue to update us until Ashleigh herself is able to do so.
In these days following the shootings in Tucson, there has been much commentary on the violent rhetoric of politics which has increased dramatically – in my opinion – since the election of Barack Obama and originates mainly from the far right.
“Second Amendment remedies” and “Don't retreat; reload” are only two of the most awful. Such tea party rally signs as “We Vote with Bullets” and the Republicans' name for the Congressional bill to repeal the health care, “Repeal the Job-Killing Health Law Act,” contribute to the toxic atmosphere.
Giffords' response last March - "Sarah Palin has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district and when people do that, they’ve gotta realize there are consequences to that action” - is painfully poignant now.
Sarah Palin did not cause the Arizona shootings. Nor did Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh or any of the other violent-language-prone pundits. But they create an aura of acceptance for such language and up the ante for the next guy.
It is a good thing, all this debate on the consequences of violent rhetoric, but I reject the argument from some that it doesn't apply to the Arizona suspect Jared Loughner because, they say, he is obviously mentally disturbed.
All our home-grown assassins and attempted assassins have been disturbed people with confused motives living in the fringe: Sirhan Sirhan, James Earl Ray, Mark David Chapman, Lee Harvey Oswald, Timothy McVeigh, John Hinckley, Linette Fromme, Sara Jane Moore, Ted Kazinsky.
The possibility that the savage political speech of our time may have contributed to alleged shooter's act in Tucson cannot be dismissed because he is mentally fragile and anyway, it wouldn't hurt our politics in general to tone it down.
In an odd coincidence, Nancy Leitz, who is a regular contributor to The Elder Storytelling Place, found a 1964 story by our late friend, Saul Friedman, published in The Nation in February 1964.
Saul discusses the political climate of Dallas and Houston, Texas in the wake of the killing of John Kennedy two months earlier. His conclusion is as relevant now as it was then:
“If the voice of liberalism and moderation is again stifled, the dialogue will again become a monologue — in the harsh, irresponsible voice of the far Right.”
You can read Saul's entire 1964 story here.
Our very best wishes for a swift and complete recovery go out to Ashleigh Burrows and I know we all look forward to her return.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Mickey Rogers: Are You a Sports Fanatic?