If anyone understands what it's like to be gunned down in the midst of a normal day, it's former representative Gabrielle Giffords from Arizona. She is planning a trip to Newtown on Friday to meet privately with families of the Sandy Hook massacre victims. And while the crazy gun nuts who defend guns against all logic will call this move "political," anyone with a bit of compassion has to realize this is about love. Not politics.
Giffords was shot in 2011 when a crazed gunman opened fire at a political rally, killing six people and wounding more than a dozen others, including Representative Giffords. Since then, Giffords has become a fierce advocate of better gun control. But it's more than that, too.
The shootings in Newtown, Connecticut have touched us all. The faces of every one of those 26 innocent victims are burned into our brains and we grieve as a nation. But no one knows what it's like better than Giffords.
Since Giffords was shot nearly two years ago, there have been a number of shootings, most notably the one in the Aurora, Colorado movie theater that killed 12 people and then Newtown where 20 school children and six of their educators were gunned down in a place of education.
We live in a sick, sick environment where this is almost "normal." And the fact is, the victim list is growing. It is, unfortunately, the kind of thing one simply cannot understand unless they have been through it.
To survive something like this is unimaginable. The guilt must be overwhelming. One must ask themselves: why am I alive while so many others are dead?
For Giffords, I am sure meeting with the families is something she must do from a loving place. Anyone who accuses her of "furthering her agenda" or using Newtown to push a gun control agenda (like these crazy people) is almost surely insane. How could anyone lack the basic human compassion it takes to realize this is part of Giffords' own emotional healing?
For her, gun control isn't a political issue. It isn't about 20 men shaking in their boots that someone might regulate their toy. It isn't lashing out for political gain.
This is deeply personal. Giffords was shot in the head. By a gun. Anyone who can't understand why she would need to go to Newtown has obviously never been through anything like that.
No one can understand what it's like except people who have been there. Unless you have been shot while trying to go about your business on a beautiful day, then you have no business judging anyone who has and the way they respond to that trauma.
My heart goes out to Giffords and I am grateful she survived so that she can help so many others heal.
Do you think this visit is "political"?
Image via bill85704/Flickr