Our community is cloaked in sadness, grieving for those who were killed, injured and terrorized Saturday in a shooting spree at a northwest-side grocery store.
Six people died. They are 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green; U.S. District Judge John M. Roll; Dorwan Stoddard, a church volunteer; Dorothy Murray; Phyllis Scheck; and Gabe Zimmerman, director of community outreach for U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Giffords was gravely wounded and 12 others were injured.
Our friends and neighbors turned out for one of Giffords' frequent "Congress on Your Corner" events. These informal gatherings are exactly how democracy is supposed to work. Constitutents drop by and Giffords listens. She's told us many times that she values these conversations. Sometimes citizens are emotional and angry, she told us, but listening is part of the trust Arizonans place in her.
Many of her constituents received robo-calls Friday night from her office, reminding them that she would be available Saturday to hear their concerns and well wishes. Giffords wasn't asking for their votes. She wasn't asking for their money. She was offering herself in the service of her district and country.
There's been a lot of violent language - and some threatening behavior - surrounding political issues in this country over the last few years. Giffords faced irate hecklers during 2009 town-hall meetings on health-care reform. She once asked them to "be a little less rude."
After she voted for that bill, a window was shattered at her Tucson headquarters.
But Giffords has never let vitriol deter her from public service. She works hard to be accessible. She's shown not just willingness, but courage to engage with people who don't agree with her.
What little we know of the suspected shooter is that he posted incoherent, arguably deranged comments on social network sites. We may never understand what prompted the violence that caused so much suffering.
We know that you, our readers, join us in extending our thoughts and prayers to the innocents killed and injured, and to their families. Vayan con Dios.
Arizona Daily Star