The first time I heard about the horrible shooting of Gabrielle Giffords and 19 other people at a Tucson grocery store on January 8, was on Facebook. As the details were revealed, I was attached to the TV, online news websites, Facebook and Twitter, hungry for more information.
A lot has been said about how quickly word got out and how some of it was not accurate and had to be corrected. “Facts” were flying around the news and social media and, although I wanted to know what happened, I also had a strong desire to hear from the people that were affected and involved with this tragedy – witnesses, responders, victims. In order for it to feel real to me, I needed to hear personal stories rather than a string of events.
Now the heroism of the senior citizens who tacked the shooter and the tragic irony of the birth date (9/11/01) of the 9-year-old girl who was killed are coming out. The stories put a face on this surreal event. It makes me want to cry all over again.
As impromptu vigils popped up around town at Gabby’s district field office, UMC hospital, churches and synagogues, I was struck by our human need to be with others in a time of tragedy. One friend said of the poignant scene at Gabby’s office, where hundreds of people have come by to bring flowers and light candles, “oddly (it’s) of some comfort to just stand in silence with others in front of a sea of condolences.”
Don’t wait until a time of crisis to come together with your loved ones and share your stories.