Like most of you, I've spent much of the weekend glued to the news, heartbroken about the tragic mass shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 19 other innocent people - 14 wounded, 6 dead including a staffer, a federal judge, and a 9-year old girl. It's tragedies like these that really shake us to the core, and make us have very little faith in the world we live in. Because we tell ourselves that these kinds of things just aren't supposed to happen, and won't. And when they do, it feels impossible to get our heads around why. A beautiful little girl who just wanted to learn about politics shouldn't have lost her life - her future - because of a deranged lunatic.
This story hits close to home for me and many of my friends that live and work here in DC. My husband, along with his co-workers, spent the last 5 years accompanying his former boss, Patrick Murphy, to local events just like the one held at the Safeway supermarket yesterday. I never worried about their safety. And I admired the dedication. A huge part of the job for Members of Congress and their devoted staffers is being accessible to their communities 24/7, and meeting one-on-one with the people they serve to make a difference in their lives. It was in that spirit that Gabe Zimmerman, Giffords' Director of Community Outreach, was working the event yesterday. He was only 30 years old, engaged and had everything to live for.
These are the things that make us want to stomp our feet and yell, "It's not fair."
The only thing we can take away from this devastating turn of events is the notion of perspective. It doesn't change the extreme sadness, fear, and anger people feel, especially those who lost loved ones. But it gives us a small way to cope. It reminds us that life is fragile, and can change in an instant. In good ways and in bad. Yes, there are horrible, evil people as evidenced this weekend. But there are wonderful people too. No one can predict the future, so we have to live in the present the very best way we can. We can't be afraid to go out and do what we're passionate about. And we have to treasure the small things - a walk around the block on a beautiful day, a funny email from a friend, a good morning kiss, laughter, quality time with the people we love.
As more details about this tragedy unfold and we continue to hope for the speedy recovery of Giffords and others who were wounded, we need to remember that every day is really a gift. So go out and enjoy it.