Monday, January 10, 2011

A Moment of Silence for Arizona Victims -- Perhaps A Few Days

At 11:00 am today, I will heed President Obama's call, light a candle and invite the Religious Institute staff into a moment of silence and then an opportunity to talk about their feelings about the shootings this weekend in Arizona.

We are all collectively reeling from the horror of 20 people being shot on a Saturday morning at the grocery store. And our hearts go out to Congresswoman Gifford as she struggles for her life, the families of those who were killed and wounded, those who witnessed the event, and the family of the young man who for reasons yet unknown killed and maimed them.

Yes, reasons yet unknown. The airways, the blogosphere, and our inboxes are overflowing with people who are using this tragedy to further their own interests and points of view. I'm guessing you've received many of the emails from organizations expressing their sympathy AND going one step further to capitalize on the situation. I've received e-cards from civil rights, mental health, Jewish, Christian, and political organizations and a wealth of commentators on the left and the right with their particular points of view. The posts on my facebook page from gay organizations on the heroism of the intern - who happens t0 be gay -- made me shake my head. (Interestingly, the only organizations I have yet to receive something from are the handgun control groups, which to my mind are the organizations which have something to say now regardless of what we learn about the shootings.) Some of the organizations have included DONATE buttons on their e-cards.

The experts and and people getting their 15 minutes of fame are all out in force. In the first hour of the Today show, we met two men who helped sit on the gunman and a woman who took a class with him last spring. REALLY?

I understand that we are all seeking to make meaning out of this senseless tragedy and that it raises intense fears for the safety of our leaders -- and ourselves. We need to talk about it -- with our loved ones and in our religious communities and in our places of work.

But I can't help but wish that all the experts, the talking heads, the organizations would take not just a moment of silence, but the next few days to pray, to think, to understand and resist the urge to use this moment as an opportunity for promotion.


Anonymous said...

Absolutely. As I said in my blog this morning, "Whatever the reason for the shootings in Arizona, I pray that we take a long look at ourselves and say, "Enough!" Let's not engage in pointing fingers. Let's listen to each other, and discuss and campaign and vote like the civilized human beings I think we are."

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