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Tragedy in Arizona

I’ve been spending a lot of time today and over the weekend thinking about the tragedy in Arizona. The attempted assassination of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords just hits a little too close to home.  As I read about 20-year-old congressional intern and college student Daniel Hernandez, I can’t help but think about myself. I was once that intern, and could have been at a political event like that nearly 20 years ago myself.  I can’t imagine, however, that I would have been a hero of the day.  As I read about 9-year-old Christina Green who was born on 9/11 and lost her life at an event where she was pursing her interest in politics, I think of my own daughter. Not yet 4, she’s already been to her share of political events, and I’ve also presumed she might be the kind of kid who has an interest in how our political system works. After all, with parents like my husband and me, she’s bound to have it in her blood.

Gabe Zimmerman, Giffords’ 30-year-old aide who lost his life could have been my husband, helping to organize the event that was meant to bring politician and constituent closer together.  The four others who lost their lives, US District Court Judge John Roll, Dorwin Stoddard, Dot Morris, and Phyllis Schneck all harbor eerie similarities to others in our life. But then again, maybe it’s because these were all such regular people going about their regular business who quite literally got caught in the cross hairs of inexplicable tragedy.

I thank my lucky stars that my daughter is young enough that I can shield her completely from the news and what happened in Tuscon, but there are children all across nation today who can see themselves, their parents, grandparents and neighbors in the faces of those who were killed and wounded in Saturday’s shooting.  What are their parents telling them? My good friend, the late Jim Greenman wrote the thoughtful resource book, What Happened to the World, in the wake of the 9/11 terrors attacks to help parents, teachers and caregivers talk with children about tragedies like this. If you’re one of the parents struggling to explain all this to your children, you can download a pdf of it here.

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