We don’t know yet what led a young man to commit today’s atrocity in Arizona. On all sides, people will search for the partisan or political messages that may have incited the assailant. That’s right and proper. Lone gunmen or conspirators who commit mass murders such as the Oklahoma City bombings are sometimes abetted by venomous rhetoric that disfigures our political life.
Talk also turns, again rightly, to the subject of gun control. Whatever political agenda or personal demons drove the Fort Hood shooter to homicide, he might not have butchered so many people without the services of his well-equipped quartermaster corps down at “Guns Galore”, where he bought his lethal wares.
Today, though, I hope public advocacy should go in a different direction. Many people are going to survive today’s shooting spree with grievous wounds. Some of these wounds will be visible on their bodies for the rest of their lives. Other wounds will be less visible but no less visible in people’s hearts and minds, as they seek to recover from what they have been through, who they have lost, what they have seen.
Whatever motivated today’s killings, let’s make sure that we show the same love and effective, competent help to these wounded people five, ten, or twenty years from now that we will surely show today, as this atrocity dominates the news. Let’s make sure none of them lose their homes or are needlessly institutionalized because of financial issues that arise in their care. Let’s do the same for tens of thousands of other people who are surviving victims of senseless gun violence. Many of these men and women, such as this Chicago high schooler, are just remarkable.
And let’s take a moment to consider the thousands of men and women who staff rehabilitation hospitals, emergency departments, nursing facilities, and other facilities who do very difficult work, and do it very well under difficult circumstances.