I was getting ready to take my son back to college in Wichita the morning of Jan. 8 when I saw the news Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D.-Ariz), had been shot, along with several others.
As I read the news on the Fox Web site it was unclear at first if it was a Democrat or a Republican who had been shot.
By that night the political attacks had started, with Paul Krugman at the New York Times already writing an odious column blaming the attack on conservatives.
Let me be very clear. No one should be making any sort of political hay out of this tragedy — a nine year old girl and a federal judge are dead. So are a number of others, including a man who shielded his wife with his own body — and Giffords, who was shot in the head, is fighting for her life.
As the facts start to trickle in, it becomes increasingly clear this was not a politically motivated attack. Jared Loughner, 22, who is accused in the attack which wounded 14 and killed six others appears to have been a deeply disturbed individual. Loughner had been turned down by the military and apparently suspended by Pima County Community College until he had gotten counseling. He then apparently withdrew.
It is sad in this world today that individuals — of any political persuasion — will use a tragedy to advance a political agenda.
For myself, I'm not interested in the politics. I commend President Barack Obama for lowering flags to half mast today. I commend him further for ordering a moment of silence for the dead today. I will credit him as well for ordering the head of the FBI to Arizona to take charge of the investigation.
If he gains some political capital from this so be it. As Americans we should all put aside politics in the face of tragedy. We should honor the fallen no matter their politics. We should comfort the survivors and their families without regard to party.
None of that matters.
What matters is a brave woman is fighting for her life, and her husband is by her side, undoubtedly scared that he may lose the love of his life.
What matters is a mother is mourning her daughter, a wife, her husband.
What matters is the three heroic bystanders. One woman who grabbed Loughner's spare magazine as he tried to reload, allowing two men to tackle him and hold him for police.
Let us all put aside politics in this case. Let this tragedy be used to bring us all together as a nation.
We can all mourn the fallen in this case. If Rep. Giffords recovers from this and resumes her seat I will cheer with her colleagues.
Whatever his mental problems, the only person to blame here is Loughner. My hope is that at the very least he will spend the rest of his life locked up, although if ever there was a case that called for the death penalty this would be it.
Regardless, my prayers, and I would hope everyone else's are with the families of the wounded and fallen, and yes with Loughner's family as well. This is as much a tragedy for them as it is for those he killed, and with this nation that we not allow this to tear us further apart — as I am all too afraid it will.
All IMHO, of course.