I should have written this post over the weekend, and I meant to, but I honestly didn’t know what to say. I still am not really sure what to say. Yes, I have political beliefs that are important to me. Everyone who knows me pretty much knows where I stand on those issues. I have no problem enthusiastically discussing my problems with Sarah Palin, and I have spent many evenings debating those issues with Republican friends. But Arizona? I am, quite uncharacteristically at a loss for words.
I don’t know how to explain to my children how six people lost their lives because they went to hear someone they admired give a speech. I’m not sure how to promise them that when I go to work, in a grocery store, every night, that nothing like that will happen at my store. I don’t know the words to use to explain to my nine-year old son that a little girl his age will never have another birthday because of a sickness in a man who never met her.
When I first heard of the tragedy in Arizona, I was sitting in a coffee shop with my two youngest children, having just finished a morning of errands. Looking at them, I realized for the millionth time, that something has to change in this country, if for no other reason than our children. We need to stop. We need to move past the pointing of fingers, of placing blame on one group by another group, and come together to make this world a safer, better place for our kids sake. My children deserve it. Your children deserve it.
Jared Loughner has a mental illness. From what I have read and heard, I believe he is schizophrenic, or perhaps bipolar. These are deep mental issues that need treatment. Sarah Palin did not cause this. Politics did not cause this. My question is what can we as a society do to prevent these types of illnesses to continue until it is too late? I believe that is where our discussion needs to be, not in politics, but in people.