I have two sons in Tucson. Dave and Phil have been deeply touched by the recent violence that rocked that Southwestern city. Such tragedies have hit our country before. With all their heartbreaking similarities, each is unique. For my sons, this one felt different. Closer to home. They, as I, have many times driven by that Safeway and been in the McKale Center where the memorial was held.
Dave is a high school history teacher. He has had to help his own students process the event. But it was even closer to home. His superindendent had taught Representative Gabrielle Giffords when she was a student. A fellow teacher had been her babysitter. This one felt different.
Phil and his wife, Tyler, wondered what to tell their sons, ages five and three, about guns, about violence, about grief and death. Phil told me on the phone of the plans of a fundamentalist pastor to picket the funeral of nine-year-old Christina Taylor Green. “Who does that?” he could barely choke out. When the apostle Paul calls on us to comfort others with the comfort with which we have been comforted, who tries to score theological or political points instead? “Who does that?” This one felt different.
We praise the heroes of that tragic day. We remember those who were lost. We pray for those who as a result need physical, emotional and spiritual healing. We hope that somehow these events will make us a better people. This one was different. Closer to home. After all, I have two sons in Tucson.