Two and two (or: the power of words)

Despite disagreeing on a lot, there is one thing that we agree on: Six are dead. Fourteen are wounded. A community, state, and nation is in shock.


[Quick note: We'll be back to your regularly scheduled blog posts in a moment, but I think I need to take a bit of time and try to put two and two together on what happened on a otherwise peaceful Saturday morning in Tucson, where six innocent souls were killed and fourteen more, including a U.S. Representative, were wounded.]

I'm still trying to comprehend the events of Saturday morning. Each and every time I think I've come up with a decent explanation for what happened, I realize that there isn't one.

If I have the story straight, the suspect walked to the scene of a meet-and-greet with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, opened fire, killing six and wounding fourteen. We don't yet know the motives of Jared L. Loughner and we might never know what caused him to do this. We don't know if Mr. Loughner acted alone or as part of some even more sinister plot. Many have been quick to assume blame but if there's one thing I've learned from my own journey, it's not to make assumptions.

Something that's being debated at great length is the role that rhetoric has played. The merits of this argument will be debated at great length for some time to come and to support various causes and ideologies. Some are saying that the tense rhetoric is to be blamed for this and others are saying that it isn't. I sense that this will be something on which an agreement will never be reached.

There is one thing that we agree on, though: Six are dead. Fourteen are wounded. A community, state, and nation is in shock.

In the meantime, isn't it wise to consider what we have to say? Take pause and consider: Is what we have to say something that will contribute positively to the greater dialog? By this, I don't mean that the thoughts and opinions have to be one way. But the conversation does have to be one way: civil and discursive. We don't need to vilify those with whom we disagree. We especially do not need to harm those with whom we disagree.

Our conversations have words. We know the power of words and the power of language. Words have meaning. Words cause action. Words cause people to speak in certain ways. Words make people do things. Words have lasting effects. All words–regardless of their part of speech–are verbs.

I have a sense that I could ramble on for a while on this topic. Thank goodness for Jon Stewart and his monologue on Monday. Watch:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Arizona Shootings Reaction
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog The Daily Show on Facebook

Requiescat in pace, Christina Taylor Green, Dorothy Morris, John Roll, Phyllis Schneck, Dorwan Stoddard, and Gabriel Zimmerman.