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Arizona tragedy: When loss of innocence is universal

January 10, 2011 |  7:12 pm


Just another feeble word right now, like all the rest, like the thousands in some ethereal dictionary.

No matter how heartfelt, the words will not run properly together, will not tap into the depth of loss suffered when a mad man goes on a shooting rampage and innocent lives are lost.

Six people died Saturday when a gunman allegedly tried to assassinate U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.). A 63-year-old judge. A 79-year-old widow. A 76-year-old married to her high school sweetheart. A 30-year-old member of Giffords’ staff engaged to be married. A 76-year-old who dove to cover his wife.

And a 9-year-old girl.

Every needless death is its own tragedy, but there is something about the loss of a child that grips the heart a little tighter, that seems to push the breath away almost involuntarily.

Christina Green was the daughter of Dodgers scout John Green, and that brings this tragedy a little closer to home.

But you look at that photo of Christina -- the cherubic cheeks; the brown, saucer eyes -- and it seems the very face of innocence, of hope and promise. She could have been anyone’s daughter and the empathy would be no less.

When something so unthinkable like this happens, people often want a villain beyond a simple twisted shooter. So a polarized, often inflammatory media are blamed, or gun laws or divisive politics.

Maybe they are to blame, maybe not, but right now that just seems too easy, too convenient, much too little.

Six hearts silenced, leaving behind an emptiness that no cry to the heavens can ease. Six lives excited about a patriotic gathering, now part of a black moment in our history.

And in the end, it all seems so senseless.

-- Steve Dilbeck