Sunday, 9 January 2011

Gabrielle Giffords and the Tragedy in Arizona

I want to send my sincerest condolences to the families of Gabrielle Giffords, who thankfully is recovering at the moment from what was so nearly a fatal bullet to the brain, and of

and the other innocent victims of this unspeakable act.

This truly is an attack on the very concept of Democracy itself, and to the extent that any lesons can be learned, or useful advice given in its wake, I would heartily echo the thoughts of Ezra Klein, who wrote:
"Loughner's shooting might've been motivated by mental illness, but the people in that parking lot were motivated by democracy: It was a meeting between a congressional representative and those she represents. They were attacked for being good citizens, and nothing can ever put that right. 
But one way that people might pay tribute is to follow their example and attend the next meeting held by their representative. It is so easy and safe to participate in the American political system that we sometimes take doing so for granted. Today was a horrifying look into a world in which that isn't so, and it should leave us with renewed appreciation for, and determination to protect, the world we have."
Ezra follows this comment by pointing to some other very wise words, spoken below by Representative Giffords herself, but written a couple hundred years ago. The basic needs of our democracy have in some ways not changed at all in the ensuing years:


"The right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition their government for redress of grievances."

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