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The Right Place at the Wrong Time

By missy Beattie - Posted on 15 January 2011

On Saturday, January 8, 2011, a Tucson Safeway became harm’s way.

For many. Someone’s wife. Someone’s mother. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Someone’s husband. Someone’s father. Son. Someone.

Witnesses to the rampage forever will be changed.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords remains in critical condition, a bullet to the head, fired by a 22-year-old gunman with a Glock. Six people were killed, including nine-year-young Christina Green.

The day after the massacre, members of the House participated in a conference call to discuss vigilance and informing local police of their whereabouts. Both Republicans and Democrats are calling for civility and have put on hold repeal of the healthcare law while they craft a resolution to commemorate the victims.

And discuss how to protect THEMSELVES.

This from Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee:

We ought to cool it, tone it down, treat each other
with respect, respect each other’s ideas and even
on difficult issues like immigration or taxes or health
care law, do our best not to inflame passions.

It’s mind numbing that a tragedy is required for adults to agree on civility. Especially, when we’ve seen the price of childhood, adolescent, and teen bullying—the multiple Columbines.

Concerned Lawmakers are scrambling to make amends.

In other words, many Republicans are rethinking their yuckathons over the popularity of weapon-themed and Palinesque incendiaries, such as, “Don’t retreat, reload.”

And many Democrats are rethinking their yuckathons over an Obamaism, “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.”

Some of us hoped this would end when the moving van hauled George Bush’s Wild West and war memorabilia to Dallas, but the phony cowpoke shtick seems to have taken off like kudzu, pervading a culture that accepts endless war abroad and at home.

The language used to incite is not unlike the fear-fest propaganda employed to motivate young men and women, many of whom are near the age of 22, to rush to recruitment stations and enlist to serve and sacrifice for their country’s imperialist wars:


Bring ‘em on.

Wanted dead or alive.

Smoke ‘em out of their holes.

Mushroom clouds over our cities.

Fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here.

Freedom isn’t free.

Jealous of our freedoms.

Mike Lupica, writing in the NY Daily news online edition, said about Christina Green:

In their family, in lives that will never be the same for a
single day, the tragedy in Tucson wasn't about Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, or the death of a federal judge, or the other people killed or wounded by a monster carrying a gun out of his own madness, through the gates of hell. This was about a little girl killed for what is always the worst reason, in America or anywhere else, killed for being in the wrong place at the
wrong time.

The “wrong place at the wrong time.” I have problems with this. Because Christina Green was at the right place. In front of a Safeway, where she, most probably, had walked many times. Though, indeed, this particular time was wrong.

Just as it is the right place for Pakistani children to be in their homes or walking with family and friends, at the wrong time, when a US drone turns them to ash. Or the right place for Iraqis or Afghans to be in their homes at the wrong time when the door is kicked in by US mercenaries who murder the entire family.

Note, too, Lupica’s words, “in America or anywhere else.” Many Americans place a higher value on American life. That’s why there’s outrage over Tucson and silence, except from the peace community, when civilians are killed in war. Our Military/Security Complex has euphemized war murder by calling it collateral damage.

But these civilians are wives. Mothers. Daughters. Sisters. Friends. Husbands. Fathers. Sons.

And so are the “insurgents” who protect their land from the occupier.

Each is someone. Human beings, all.

I've been reading your articles and the articles of everyone on this blog for a long time now, but this is my first comment. Thank you for this post. It is indeed a tragedy that we don't spend as much time and energy mourning those dead at the hands of our warmaking overseas as we do on mourning the dead in this country.

I'm glad you mentioned that that Safeway wasn't a "wrong" place. I would argue that Christina and everyone else was there at the "right" time... everyone, that is, except for Mr. Loughner. That was the time that Rep. Giffords was having an event for her constituents to meet her and ask her questions and take an active roll in our democracy, after all. Christina's presence and everyone else's was inspiring. It was the right time for them to be there. It was the wrong time for murder.

My brother was a Virginia Tech student during the April 16, 2007 shooting. Thank goodness he didn't have any classes at the time and place of the massacre! But for those who did, they were where they were supposed to be -- in class on time -- which not every college student can say! I was annoyed when President Bush said they were in the wrong place at the wrong time because *they* weren't wrong. There is no wrong time for education, just as there is no wrong time for democracy... not even last Sunday. There is a wrong time for murder, though -- any time.

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