The horror of the shooting in Arizona ought to force us all to stop and think. Not only is Representative Gabrielle Giffords fighting for her life. 19 people were shot. One of Representative aids was killed. Arizona's Chief Federal Judge was killed. A little nine-year old girl born on September 11 was killed. 6 people were killed in all.
Most folk are not like the man with that gun in Arizona. We are decent people and most of us want the same things for ourselves and for those around us. And yet we live in a climate which gets more and more toxic.
The best word I have read on this subject was written before the shooting. It came in my mail just this week from the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research. The publication of that group is called Bearings for the Life of Faith. The first article in the Autumn/Winter 2010 issue is by Parker J. Palmer. It is called "The Heart of Politics." He says ours is really heart trouble. And he writes that you can't have politics without addressing the political heart today. Read this article for yourself and ponder where we are. We've been over this violent, chaotic road many times before. When someone is public life, particularly is shot we stop and ponder and usually go back to business as usual. This could be a teachable moment for all of us. We need to learn that words matter terribly. Read Parker Palmer's article and ponder where we are and where we will end up. http://collegevilleinstitute.org/assets/bearings/winter/index.html