As we continue to get settled back into the grind after a long hiatus in Mississippi for the Holidays, I had hoped that my first post would be on a positive note. Unfortunately, I am unable to do that. By now, everyone is well aware of the tragedy that took place in Tuscon over the weekend. The media coverage has been non-stop, and I'm sure everyone is tired of seeing it when they turn on the television.
Often times when events like these occur, we feel sad for the individuals affected, but then continue on with our lives. Rarely (and thank God for that) does it really ever hit home. Unfortunately, this tragedy did for Lauren and I. While we did not know anyone personally, our ties are very close to two of the victims: Congresswoman Giffords and the aide who was killed. Working on the Hill, I have found our community to be a very close knit group. Everyone knows someone who has a connection with another friend of yours. It is a very small world.
Friday night, we watched the movie "Letters to Juliet". At one point, the main character writes a letter to a lady who lost love. She begins with this:
"'What' and ‘if’ are two words as nonthreatening as words come. But put them together side-by-side and they have the power to haunt you for the rest of your life: ‘What if?'..."
At that time, the quote stuck in my head, but it has become more profound in light of the killing of a staffer on Saturday. Giffords' aide had just turned 30 and was about to get married. His fiance, his family, and his friends no longer can celebrate the wedding that was about to take place. Instead, they mourn his life and think "what if".
As we sat there watching the news, Lo and I just sat in silence, not speaking, but knowing exactly what each was thinking. That could have been one of my co-workers. That could have been one of our friends. That could have been me. I have the same job as this former aide. Many don't understand the other side of the world that occurs in D.C. Thousands of staffers tirelessly work here serving our states, our districts, and the Senators/Representatives we work for. We, on NUMEROUS occasions, head back to the state to staff constituent events, not ever thinking about the possibility of our lives being threatened or taken. Until now. This event has shaken Capitol Hill and it will forever be in the back of our minds when we step out into the public for events. No one should EVER feel they have to work in fear. It was a senseless act.
Below is a picture from earlier this morning where Congressional Staffers paused for a moment of silence. It was amazing to see so many of us there. Somber yet moving.