Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tucson and Christina

I know that so many have already remarked on the Tucson shootings.  They are horribly.  I've seen the chain-statuses so many of my friends are putting up about gun control, too.  I find it heartening that the media "darling of this tragedy is the youngest victim, Christina Taylor-Green. 
In our age of social media and faster than thought communication, this story has made it’s way around the world.  Journalists in the UK are remarking on the poor woman that took this child to the event “suffering nightmares and guilt” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/us-politics/8253861/Arizona-shooting-Christina-Taylor-Greens-neighbour-suffering-nightmares-and-guilt.html)  We the People know about Greene’s life – her birthday on 9/11, her election to the student council, and now, what kind of casket she will be using (http://www.kcrg.com/news/local/Dubuque-Monks-Build-Casket-for-9-year-old-Arizona-Shooting-Victim-113429364.html ).  A hate group wearing church’s clothing was even going to protest her funeral.  My thoughts on them are best left for another day; they’ve been placated with unrestricted radio air-time the last I’d heard.
Part of me wonders if this is too much.  I mean, the WORLD knows the US’s dirty laundry.  Palin, along with a few other pundits, came out and said some things that have caused a huge amount of anger among the Jewish community.  Apparently “blood libel” isn’t a phrase that ANYONE should be using (as the granddaughter of Russian Jews, I was a little offended that they were using this phrase after finding out EXACTLY what it really referred to) but if you’re Sarah Palin, you are most definitely not allowed to use it without being even more despised by the rest of the country.
Besides this child, there were FIVE other people murdered.  John Roll, Gabriel Zimmerman, Dorwan Stoddard, Dorothy Morris, and Phyliss Schneck.  No one’s really talking about them very much.  So I will.

John Roll
Roll was a US District Court Judge and  everyone was more than willing to give clichés about him except retired Superior Court judge Ron Reinstein. 
Reinstein knew Judge Roll since the 1970s, when they were young prosecutors, and says he always was impressed with how seriously Roll took doing the right thing, both as a prosecutor and, later, as a judge.

Yes, Roll was very conservative, Reinstein told us, but he would never let his personal views on a topic or a case interfere with how he interpreted the law from the bench.
He was a devout Catholic.  As a Conservative Wiccan, I can appreciate someone that is loyal and devoted to their faith.  He would visit law schools and give lectures, then mingle with the students long after the lecture was over.  I was happy to see that there’s no mention of family left behind and not because it makes me assume he was a single man with no family.  The failure to mention family makes me hope that the media has left his family to their grief as Green’s family was not.

Gabriel Zimmerman
Zimmerman was only 30 and again, the only family that is mentioned is his father.  He was Congresswoman Gifford’s director of community outreach, and started his career helping disturbed children (http://www.kpho.com/valleynews/26496200/detail.html )  Apparently, Zimmerman was into history, too.  “Two years ago, on a trip to President Barack Obama's inauguration, Mr. Zimmerman visited the Lincoln Memorial on a cold dreary day and refused to leave until he'd read every word on the monument.” (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703889204576078402850194380.html )

Dorwan Stoddard
According to the Washington Post, Stoddard died shielding his wife (http://voices.washingtonpost.com/blog-post/2011/01/dorwan_stoddard_arizona_shooti.html).   Though he was 76, he was his church’s maintenance man.  People from his church remember him as one that would do for everyone in need, and that he and Marvie (who was his high school sweetheart and second wife) where at the church “if the doors were open” unless they were on vacation or sick.

Dorothy Morris
In his NPR broadcast on 10 January 2011, Steve Inskeep tells us that Dorothy and George Morris were married more than 50 years and had two daughters; that George, who was shot twice, survived.  Morris was a friend, wife, mother and grandmother who only wanted to meet her congresswoman.

Phyliss Schneck
Schneck was a widow and only lived in Tucson 8 months of the year, the rest of the time going back to New Jersey to be with her children, grandchildren and great granddaughter.  She was a stitcher, making aprons with football logos for church auctions and quilts, and at one time had served at both the state and district level for women’s clubs in Montville and Rutherford NJ.  Terry Cavanaugh said that Schneck “was one of my mentors when I took over as president of women's club” and "She kept you on your toes.'' (http://www.dailyrecord.com/article/20110113/UPDATES01/110113046/1005/NEWS01/Obama+honors+Morris+County+victim+of+Tucson+shootings++funeral+set )

Why is this so important?  Because it wasn’t just a judge, child, and staff member of a congresswoman who’s lives were prematurely ended.  This isn’t just about a 9 year old or people that are in government.  It’s about an unbalanced man that decided to speak with his gun instead of his words and eternally affect the families of his nearly 20 victims, despite most of them being over the age of fifty.

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