Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The shooting

Okay...lot's of stuff I could talk about here. But I've decided not to add more the media fodder that is the shooting and all the blogs are lighting up about it too. I decided to talk about it from my unique and oddly personal vantage point. You see....I hate saying this because you all know how terribly private I am about stuff...I live in Tucson. There I said it. Good luck trying to find out exactly where.

This shooting isn't something that I haven't had to deal with before and it isn't unique to Tucson either. I think it's only huge because it's a Congresswoman (sorry I said Senator but that was a momentary slip of my brain. she's my congresswoman. McCain and Kyle are my senators). And you'll understand why I say that in a moment.

You all know, well if you don't you do now, that I'm a huge pacifist and that I sort of evolved that way since 9-11, but 9-11 was the big catalyst for the already nasty soup of violence that I've brushed up against. You see I've dealt with violence closer to home. I'm from Mississippi. And when I was in high school out in the burbs there was a shooting.

A young man, a little younger than myself, with blond hair and thick bottle glasses on Oct. 1, 1997 stabbed and bludgeoned his mother to death. He took her car keys and backed out of the drive way over a bush (he has major vision problems). He wore a trench coat and was armed. First he arrived at school where he walked in to make sure the people he wanted to shoot were waiting for the first bell to ring. He walked back to the car and brought in the gun. He killed two girls and injured numerous people. The assistant principal went to his car and pulled out his hand gun had the boy lie on the ground to await for the police. The boy's name is Luke Woodham and the school was Pearl High School.

In the next town over about 15 minutes or so away, sat a young blond headed geeky girl who wore contacts. Unbeknownst to her, her brush with violence was about to begin. Rumor circulated that day. They were moving counselors out of her school. By the end of the school day, she could see rows of car parked outside in the parking lot waiting for her school to get out. Shocked friends and relatives were waiting to seek solace in their friends and families. Many were hugging each other and crying.

A football game had been scheduled against Pearl and my hs. It was postponed and the following weekend we finally played them amid helicopters landing during half time so that the news media could (as usual) make fodder out of the whole affair. The band, cheerleaders, and football players from my school wore blue and gold ribbons (Pearl HS colors) out of solidarity on their uniforms.

And here's another story, although there are many, of a friend of mine, who if you don't believe in divine providence will give pause. My friend lost his wallet the day before the shooting. He decided rather than chancing it to call up a friend that morning and get a ride to school. They were running a little late and as soon as they stepped out of the car, the gun shots started firing. He said had he been there, he would have probably been shot because the shooting started where he normally hangs around before class. They immediately jumped back into the car and left to go down the street to the middle school to warn them of the shooting. His friend's mom worked there so naturally they thought of family first. Later that week, my friend's wallet showed up in the mail box with everything in it. True story.

Violence is everywhere and it doesn't make sense. Even in Tucson there have been numerous shootings where it just didn't make sense.

Take this one that happened on the University of Arizona campus. I wasn't living here at the time. Hubby was. Basically what happened is a disgruntled nursing student who was flunking out decided to go on a killing spree targeting faculty. He killed four people. Did the president show up and show solidarity for the UofA community? Nope.

Or this one that happened really close to me. I was on my way to work and somehow missed it since it basically went all throughout the city. Some crazy maniac (sound familiar?) decided to go on a killing spree by firing first into several people's homes and then hopped into a car and led police on a car chase that resulted in one officer's death and two deputies injured. Did this make national news? Hardly.

You see the only reason that some loony made it on prime time and got the president's attention is because he shot a Congresswoman. That's it. It wasn't because he shoot some 9 year old girl (who incidentally attended the church that I used to work at, but that's another story). And maybe it's because he also, unbeknownst to him, killed a federal judge. No, I think it's largely due to the fact that this maniac stalked and shot a Congresswoman. That's all.

Violence is everywhere and happens all the time. The news decides what's important. You'll notice that when school shootings come up, people will mention VTech not UofA or Peducka, KY not Pearl, MS. Because I think if people realized just how common these things really are, they would stop listening to all the media hype. And instead, hopefully, will put into place ways to prevent the crazies of the world from getting a hold of semi-automatic weapons. I mean, who needs a semi-automatic, to go hunting? Yes, I think if people want to own guns then fine. I just think we need to as a nation wake up and place more restrictions on the sale of guns. But there you go.

I also think that there needs to be more dialogue and prevention measures. Since the Pearl Hs shooting the area in which I live now is in direct contact with the local police and the teacher's are trained to shut down their classrooms in the event something like that happens again. UofA has a strict policy that any rumors of mental illness or threats of harm are handled seriously. All faculty, TA, professor, etc. are required to report any and everything.

These things do make a difference, but truly violence is going to occur. I just wish that we had less guns floating around ready and available to the next psychopath to use. Can we trade guns for more therapists? But hey...I'm just one nutty pacifist who is sick of living in a world where she's not sure she wants her child to live outside a bullet proof cage.

I could say a lot more, but enoughs enough right?


  1. I think I remember hearing about Pearl... Anyways, I had a feeling you were in Tucson. I don't remember why, I just did. I think cause I saw the link you posted to your Church... I'd forgotten until I heard about the shooting and then you popped into mind.

  2. Something my adviser pointed out about Obama showing up, none of the other shootings had 20 people involved. Big numbers like that tend to make a difference too. Also, I think the HS shootings are more common in the US because it gets reported more often and kids start thinking, "Well if other people do this I'll do it too." According to my previous roommate, Canada has HS shootings too, but they are far less common, and when they do happen it's not publicized.


I love to read your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!