By: Nykhala Coston. Published: February 11, 2011.
A moment of silence was observed on the first day back at McKendree University for the victims of the Tuscan, Ariz. shooting. Six people were killed that day, and thirteen were wounded. No one could have anticipated such a tragedy. No one could have sent out an early warning to the Arizona locals and Representative Gabriel Gifford one early afternoon in front of a local supermarket.
On Jan. 8, 2011, Representative Gifford appeared at the supermarket to converse with the citizens about their opinions and concerns on topics such as current immigration laws, Medicare, and gun rights. Into her third term, she took particular interest in the latter two issues. Before she could begin her speech and further exercise her congressional duties, she was shot in the head by Jared Lee Loughner. Further news reports would suggest that she was his main target that afternoon and in light of the incident, some members of congress blamed it on bad politics and partisanship.
Another victim of the shooting and even more heart wrenching, is Christina Green, a nine-year-old girl who was fataly shot in the chest. Her story began that day by taking a trip to the supermarket with her older neighbor, Suzi Hileman. Hileman tried to block the shots from reaching the girl, but lost in the attempt to save her life. Although the little girl’s life ended far too early, her passing led to another girl regaining her sight through an organ donation. Her story came to show that when one’s life is taken, another one can be enriched.
The two lives were also highlighted in President Obama’s speech along with victims Judge John Roll, Dorthy Morris, Phyllis Schneck, Darwin Stoddard, and Gabriel Zimmerman. As Obama addresses each individual in a short biography, he doesn’t just express mere empathy for the individuals who have passed and gratitude for those who survived, but he further compares those deceased to our own families in an attempt to bring the nation closer to the tragedy. With any tragedy, President Obama, states that a death of a family member can cause one to contemplate, to reflect, and to try to find a reason for what had happen. Beyond the natural responses of grief, he also used the opportunity in his speech to express the need to see the country in a better light.
A mere reflection of the shooting in Arizona, hundred a miles away, could at first seem like another story that could evoke a possible sympathetic response for a short period of time. It could even lead one to compare it to the shooting incident that happened near our very own campus last semester; thank God that no one was heart then. Or as advised by President Barrack Obama, it could inspire us to live life to the best of our ability while maintaining a cordial relationship with others. Whichever the response, whether it directly affects us or distant a distance memory for most, the few minutes to pause and reflect, gives us a brief flash of the life we choose to lead.