Christina Taylor Green was born in violence on September 11, 2001 and died the same way during the Arizona shooting. She was just 9-years-old and had gone to hear Gabrielle Giffords speak on January 8 in order to learn more about the political process.
In the midst of such a tragedy, this particularly heartbreaking story stands as such a testament to the times in which we live. And as a mother of two under five, my heart breaks for this family personally – there is no pain I can imagine greater than losing one of my children – but also for our nation as a whole.
What kind of country are we handing to our children when a 9-year-old girl who loved horses and was deeply involved in student government is dead because she wanted to learn?
We can lay blame on Sarah Palin's cross hairs map or fight over the politics of the shooter, but for a moment, let’s suspend all that and focus on the facts: a 9-year-old girl came into the world on one of the most violent days in our nation’s history and before she had even lived a decade, she died the same way.
Something is wrong with a culture that let that happen.
This is not a partisan argument. Before I am a Democrat, I am a mother who loves my children. Just like Greene’s parents loved her and wanted her to have the best life. They took that time yesterday to bring their little girl who was once featured in a book about 9/11 called Faces of Hope to a place where she should have learned and grown. And now she is dead.
Our country is broken. Yes, there was one crazy gunman and whoever helped him. But we would be remiss to not point out that it is part of a larger problem in this country. Just last week, we saw an assistant school principal murdered by a gun. There have been too many school shootings to list them out one by one. And parents are being shot by their own children. We live in a culture in which gun metaphors are used with some regularity. I am just as guilty of it as others. Rolling my eyes at times and dismissing politicians:
Oh, she is so stupid, she should be shot.
I don’t own a gun. I have only fired one in my life. But this kind of talk is dangerous. Who might take me seriously? And then imagine I have a national platform and millions of people who believe in me and I say something like that? Then what? Is it my fault if people take me too literally?
This may not be the time for blame, but I, as a mother, want to know why this promising, sweet little girl is dead. I want answers. And some of the answers, unfortunately, lie in a culture that has passed this kind of talk off as funny. They lie in a culture that has become so jaded to guns and violence that we think it is OK to put cross hairs on a map and say things like, “Don’t retreat, reload!”
Just what message did we think was being sent? Of course, it is not Sarah Palin’s fault on her own. We are living in a culture that is so divided we are about to crack down the middle. Something is terribly broken.
Six people are dead as a result of yesterday’s violence. Of those six people, one was a child who never even had the chance to hit double digits. Her family is missing a member. Forever.
We were four, now we are three, her grief stricken father told CNN.
If those words aren’t enough to wake us up, then nothing will be. And I hope she is in a better place, somewhere far away from the violence that touched her young life far too many times.
Does this story make you think differently?