Columns / Discourse / January 19, 2011

Observing America: Thoughts on Tucson

On Jan. 9, Jared Loughner killed six people and injured 12, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), at a rally in Tuscon, Az. The Tucson shooting is very similar to the attacks that took place in New York City on September 11th, 2001. The response to both of these tragedies showed that Americans can come together when our people and nation are threatened. After 9/11, Americans put their differences aside to mourn and help the victims. Both events showed a lot of patriotism and unity in how the public reacted to these atrocious events.

Americans from a variety of political, economic, religious and social backgrounds came together in the last couple weeks to pray and care for the victims from Tucson. President Obama, along with newly voted Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) reacted with the utmost grief. After listening to our government leaders speak, I believe they did well in setting their differences aside to console Americans.

There is, however, something that intrigues me about how the American people reacted. Why does it take dead people to bring us together? America is, in my opinion, an exceptional country and that should be enough to easily unite us. My parents took my brother and I from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Chicago, IL due to the Argentine political corruption and economic depression. America doesn’t need tragedies to unify and celebrate our nation.

We have common heritages and customs. Even though we may categorize each other as being liberal or conservative, our reaction to Tucson and 9/11 shows that politically labeling each other is not as important as simply being American. It is possible to come together and put aside our differences and our inflammatory political speech in order to solve our problems. Yes, some of those problems are our almost 15 trillion dollar debt, the wars overseas, and our dependence on oil. However, I don’t want to get into that today. Today, I’m trying to show that we are a common people and no matter what radical people from the Left—Olbermann, Matthews and Maddow- or from the Right– Palin, Beck and Limbaugh–tell us on the radio or on TV, we can get along with each other and solve these important issues.

One final thing—Jared Loughner had an unfortunate life. He is mentally ill and therefore it is not fair to blame anyone for provoking Loughner to shoot innocent people. He was going to shoot people even if radicals from both sides of the aisle had not said the inflammatory things that they said. Another important point that the media missed about this event is that perhaps these isolated shootings like the one in Tucson occur because our country does a poor job treating the mentally ill. Our country has to be proactive.

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