Saturday, January 08, 2011

A Dark Day

If I were in a relationship, today would be the kind of day I'd call and ask him to come over and hold me for a while.

Mid-afternoon, Facebook activity increased. The word at the time was that a Congresswoman had been killed. Later we learned that while Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head, she was actually alive. As of this evening as I'm typing, we're told six people were killed.

Among them are a 9-year-old girl who recently had been elected to her school's student council, a federal judge and one of Giffords' aides -- Gabe Zimmerman, her community outreach director who was engaged to be married.

Every loss today was senseless. Every life should be recognized and treasured. But I was particularly moved at the thought of Zimmerman.

As a former staffer for a state representative who organized plenty of town hall gatherings like the one that was scheduled for today, I could identify with his last moments. I know what it's like to get somewhere early, make sure the staging is set, greet the representative, ensure she has all she needs to be comfortable and then stay on the edge of activity, alert to who shows up, who looks friendly, and who might be trouble. Never did I ever think I would have to scan the crowd for a shooter. We did hire security on a couple of occasions but it was more for crowd control than actual fear of violence.

I have met so many young men like Gabe, believers who want to make a difference, who dedicate hours upon hours for little monetary reward, and who have so much potential you can almost see their future office-holding in their eyes. No one should die at the hand of a crazed gunman. Knowing just a little bit about one who has makes the loss so much more real.

I don't have a pithy comment about the U.S., about the demise of social decorum, or about how one side or the other might have brought this on. I have no clue why things like this happen or how we can keep it from happening again.

What I do have is a great sense of the void widening today. Dark, deep and wide it's kinda scary. And I could use a hug.

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