Sunday, January 9, 2011

Target Practice

"The world will end soon, because Heavenly Father won't put up with the evil abuse to his innocent children much longer." These were the words of my friend, Carolyn Fenn, probably two decades ago. And we're still here, and children are still being hurt.

She's right, our days are numbered, but we could have one or thousands of years ahead of us, and free agency is still around, bringing with it pain and sorrow for the choices made by those who don't care about anything or anyone but themselves.

I am thinking of yesterday's massacre in Tucson, AZ, at an event held by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (shot and in critical condition, and the assumed primary target of the gunman)which took the lives of many, including a 9-year old girl. An innocent 9-year old girl, a student body officer recently elected at her elementary school. A daughter. A sister. A granddaughter. A friend. A little girl. An innocent.

Born on 9-11, Christina Taylor Green "came in on a tragedy and now she's gone out on a tragedy," said her father, John Green.

And there were others, 20 or so hurt or killed in this tragic incident. My heart goes out to all of the families who were hurt or have lost someone, but today I am focusing on an innocent 9-year old girl.

I love to shoot a revolver. One of my favorite things is to head to the shooting range for target practice. I have a gun. It's in a safe place in my home. I don't carry it with me, although I'm beginning to think I should.

But this is not about guns.

Yes, political targets were illustrated on US maps in last year's elections with gun sights and bull's eyes to identify their locations.

But this is not about Sarah Palin or the tea party.

To label either as responsible for this horrendous incident is like labeling all Muslims as terrorists. Or all Mormons as polygamists.  Or all liberals as abortionists. Or all conservatives as war hawks or millionaires.

This is about an innocent 9-year old girl. Shot and killed in the open public spaces of Tucson, Arizona.

It's not about maps. Or guns. Or political parties.

It's easy to point fingers, but that's child's play. It's time to be adults.

We need to stop the madness. Our madness.

This country will not fall at the hands of another, if it falls it will be of our own doing. Neighbor against neighbor. Brother against brother.

We can no longer place blame elsewhere. The ugly, damaging fighting within our country, between parties, is not something we can afford to ignore any longer.

It's time to get back to common sense, even when no sense can be made of this terrible tragedy. We need to remember that we are all on the same team, even if we look at things from different points of view.

We need to elevate the position of every individual, every person, every human being, in the minds of our youth, and in our own minds. We need to value life and teach that same value to the younger generations.

We need to respect the opinions of others, even when they don't align with ours. That's what the United States of America is all about. 

We need to teach our youth to value themselves, teach them that they are important. And we need to treat them as persons of great worth.

We need to teach and remind our children how to manage their anger, how to treat others. We need to teach them how to walk away. We need to teach them how to succeed in this life, but just as important, we need to let them fail when they are little and then teach them how to jump up and try again.

We need to set better examples, not just in our own families, but to those around us. We need more humility.

We need to pay closer attention to those who seem "different".We need to be aware,  and act on promptings or hunches, not pretend they do not exist.  We need to watch for warning signals.

And we need to care about others and be aware of their lives. We need to pay attention.

We need to be careful about the imagery we invoke through our creative marketing efforts.

We need to choose our words carefully.

Maybe we do need to pack. Maybe not.

We need to think about gun safety and availability. We have rights, but we also need common sense.

But in this terrible incident, there will be no sense. There can't be.

It's about a 9-year old girl. And her family. And all of the families affected by this tragedy.

Families who will never have dinner together again, because someone is missing. As Christina's father said, "We were four people and, now we're three."

We need to have dinner as families.

We have to stop the killing of innocent people. Of innocent children.

Soon our children will not feel safe outside of their homes. And this is our own doing. We can't blame the Muslims for this one.

This tragedy is about a 9-year old girl, and about our nation and whether we will divide amongst ourselves or unite for truth and freedom.

Yes, this tragedy was a random act of violence, a crazed man with a gun, but somewhere, sometime, maybe there was a moment when someone looked the other way, or didn't care, or lost interest. Somewhere, sometime, maybe something was missed that could have prevented this loss of lives. Maybe not. But I would rather err on the side of doing more, than doing less.

Maybe the world is going to end soon, maybe not. If my friend's observation of so long ago is based in truth, I don't know how He's held out this long. I know I couldn't. Too many innocent children are being hurt through abuse, war, slavery, and incidents like the Tucson massacre.

Innocent children. Probably with more common sense then many adults have.

We need to listen more. We need to love more. We need to be more childlike, not childish. Teachable. Eager to contribute. Happy, like Christina Taylor Green, who often would say to her mother, Roxanne Green, "We are so blessed. We have the best life." And we need to get past the sorrow and anger of today, and work for a more unified tomorrow.

We need to use common sense. And keep target practice on the range.

May they rest in peace. And may their families find peace.

And may we all find peace in this chaotic world.

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