When I read the paper this evening it made me cry. Again. I cried for the families. I cried for the people who had to endure such a horrific event. I cried for the increased fear this blood bath will cause in people who may now be too scared to speak their minds or get involved. I cried for Gabby Giffords, though I only met her on two occasions, I found her to be gracious and engaged. She was trying and she seemed to really care.
Here are some of the things I would have liked to point out in my Letter to the Editor but couldn't due to word restraints.
I grew up in Minnesota. All of the men in my family went deer hunting every year. It was a way of life. I learned how to shoot a gun at the age of 7. I went clay pigeon shooting for fun, and have always been a pretty good shot. My Bapa taught me gun safety from a very young age and always kept his guns locked up so they couldn't be stolen.
I have shot one living creature in my life and have a scope kiss scar from a 240 Weatherby above my right eyebrow to prove it. I like to think of that scar as my "Karma kiss." I had to kill a goat.
Before I started my company, I ran the indoor air division of another environmental company. My boss had a developer client who had some goats escape up a mountain near Tucson and endanger the last herd of Bighorn Sheep native to Arizona. It was a big story and all over the news. They had herded out as many goats as they could, but it was crazy terrain and we had to hike in. I said a prayer for the goat, and shot a bullet straight through his neck from 260 yards away, killing him instantly. I fared better than the goat, only requiring 7 stitches and getting a shiner that lasted for about a week.
I killed a goat to save a sheep, and started my own company shortly thereafter, because I was disgusted by who my boss would take money from so his pretty, little wife could go to yoga classes and shop all day.. Yuck.
Though it's true intent is needed to commit any act of assault toward another, a gun makes it a whole lot easier. I don't think it's a good idea for people to be walking around with guns willy nilly. Our human race is far too flawed to handle it.
This is what I said in my letter:
As a politically active citizen and a mom, I have wept several times while reading the coverage of the Tucson tragedy. That could have very well been my child who was killed or injured...
There have been so many moments living in this "wild west mentality" state over the past 12 years that have made me wince and cringe. Reading some of the politicians’ quotes in today's newspaper regarding the shooting rampage made me physically ill.
Gov. Jan Brewer: "I think it's certainly nothing that a state would like to have happen." Really, Governor? Here's a newsflash for you - I can be 100% certain that NO state would ever want this to happen. How do you plan to re-brand Arizona now? Ick.
U.S. Rep. Trent Franks said that he doesn't see gun-control measures as a solution..."It's not the gun that was the problem. It's whose hands it was in."
Hey Rep. Franks - I'm not sure if you're aware of this or not, but gun-control measures DO help control whose hand a gun ends up in. It’s called waiting periods and background checks. A crazy person without a gun isn't quite as big of a threat.
Wake up Arizona. Guns kill people.
I think my Bapa, looking down on me from Bapa Heaven would agree with me. I think he would think it's ridiculous that a 22 year old kid with documented mental issues, could waltz into a store and buy that weapon - with no background check what-so-ever.
I think a crazy person with a gun, is a hell of a lot scarier than a crazy person without a gun. I think strong gun control measures in this crazy ass state would go a long way in preventing tragedies. Like this one.
I understand the concept of using a gun to hunt to get food. I DON'T understand the concept of "let's give every single person, including college kids, a gun so they can protect themselves." Are you fucking kidding me? Protect them from each other? I think it's fair to say more people are killed by guns than those involved in fist fights. C'mon.
I'm proud of Sheriff Dupnik for making logical statements to the press. Holy shitballs! We have at least one sane Sheriff in this effed up state! I'm sure Sheriff Joe is making a Dupnik voodoo doll as we speak...
So, at the end of the day, all I can think is the hate-spewing, Tea Party, extremist politics have to stop - or more and more people are going to follow suit because they think Sarah Palin is "talking to them." We NEED to learn from this and pass new legislation about hate mongering within politics AND gun-control measures. We need to do it now.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the families who suffered massive tragedy due to a twisted web of failed systems and disregard for keeping our state's citizens safe.
I hope Arizona can do better. My idealism is waning.