In their words

2011-01-23T00:00:00Z 2011-01-23T00:33:18Z In their words Arizona Daily Star
January 23, 2011 12:00 am

Several University High students wrote about the shootings for their school newspaper, The Perspective. Here are excerpts:

Amelia Marsh

To me, Gabrielle Giffords represents two of the most basic yet vital skills that can be learned at University High: intellect and compassion. The two are closely related - understanding of an issue can often lead to the desire to remedy it - and together they can bring real change to our world.

As the leaders of tomorrow, young adults have a responsibility to try to do just that. I hope that as a result of this tragedy, the American people will start to try to fix our copious problems, not blame each other for them.

Cara Leverenz

Everyone has different accounts, opinions and stories about the tragedy that occurred on January 8th.

For me, it was just a normal Saturday. I was sitting there watching TV when my aunt called and told us the news. I immediately switched away from what I was watching and turned on the first news channel I could find to see a picture of Gabrielle Giffords on the screen and newscasters talking in serious voices.

It really made me think how on such a seemingly normal day something so tragic could happen, something that no one expects. Not only would I like everyone to consider the poor congresswoman and her struggle for life, but remember the others who were shot who remained nameless for so long.

The 9-year-old girl who was killed, Christina-Taylor Green, probably woke up that morning excited and nervous to meet such a well-known woman, but I am sure it never crossed her mind to savor that last, "I love you" with her parents before she left home that day.

Something such as this really gets you thinking about what goes on in our society and how some people can be so cruel and others can be so unexpectedly heroic. There was one story about the scene of a young intern who held onto Gabrielle Giffords and knew to apply pressure to the wound, talk to her and hold her hand. Stories like these really open our eyes to the little, but very powerful, things someone does on impulse during such a tragic moment.

Meilin Ossanna

The shooting of 19 people, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, stunned Tucsonans everywhere. I don't think we ever realized that something like this could actually happen so close to home.

We hear stories on the news about people being killed all around the world. The closest we are to events such as these are the Arizona-Mexico border conflicts, but even then it feels like it's farther away than it actually is. This tragedy made us realize that these things can happen anywhere and to anyone.

I had just finished dance class when I heard. I was walking into the lobby just as people were coming in the door, talking about what they had heard on the radio about the incident. The lobby was full of people talking in hushed, horrified voices asking what had happened and frantically searching their iPhones for recent updates.

I was so shocked that something like this had happened, I didn't know what to think. Of course, the multiple stories of what had happened and the conflicting reports as to whether or not Giffords was alive didn't help my confusion (or anyone else's, for that matter.) It was impossible to think of anything else the entire day because it was so unexpected.

I think it's a tragedy like this that makes people stop and think about their life and what it means. You hear the stories about the victims, such as the 9-year-old girl, Christina-Taylor Green, who just wanted to know more about how the country she lives in is run, and it makes you realize that her life hadn't really even begun. She hadn't even lived a decade and her life was already over.

And the other victims, who were part of our community and hadn't done anything to deserve such a horrific outcome. We've been told throughout our lives that we should cherish and express gratitude for things we have in our life, know that we are fortunate. The full truth of this never had deep meaning for me until I realized, after hearing about the shooting, that something that meant everything to you could be gone in an instant.

An important lesson from this, I think, is that we should stop every once in a while to marvel and appreciate the people, experiences, and basic necessities we have because one day we'll look back and realize that everything is gone.

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