The Massacre In My Hometown

Yesterday was one of the most difficult days I’ve ever experienced, as I took in the news of the horrific shooting in Tucson, Arizona, where I lived the first 22 years of my life, and where my family still lives. You’ll understand, I’m sure, why this is so intensely personal to me as you read further.

What I’ve posted below is from my writing on Moscow’s Vision2020. While I stand corrected that the shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, is a “Christian” terrorist — and I’m glad for it — I stand by the comments toward the end. I would ask you to read them carefully and prayerfully, considering the truth behind what I’ve said. A search of the men’s blogs will easily reveal the examples that I found yesterday to be so vile. Subsequent posts, because transparency is important to me, will be chronologically from my correspondence on Vision, from which the following is taken in its entirety:

I’m in shock, and frankly inconsolable. CNN reports that they can’t confirm her death, nor that of the federal judge with her, as has been reported. Also, there are reports of 18 shot, not 13.

On a personal level, and to explain why I’m inconsolable, Gabrielle was a dear friend of my father’s, and he acted as an unofficial advisor to her — someone who, if he were alive, would undoubtedly have been there with her. That’s jarring. But she’s an acquaintance of my mother’s, and my mother, a 50-year Tucson resident active in politics that entire time, knows most of her staff, as well as all of the federal judges in the area. I’m afraid she’s in for some tremendous loss. All of us are, but I’m sure you’ll forgive me if I’m taking this extraordinarily personal. Gabrielle’s staff was at my father’s funeral in February 2009; she was meeting with Obama at the same time, but her condolences were for a man she admired tremendously and whose wisdom, and friendship, she availed herself of regularly. I’m glad Dad isn’t here to see this.

But it’s also personal because the shooter is likely someone who claims Christ as Savior, who believes the radical, Tea Party fringe represents the best promise of the Gospel and the best hope of America, and who stands for everything I hate in the name of Jesus Christ. I have fought against bigotry for my entire adult life, and particularly here in Moscow against those vicious and craven bigots who promote hatred and division in the name of the One to whom I’ve pledged my life. Remember Dale Courtney’s hideous “Obama assassination” joke after the Inauguration, or his “Obama Psalm” stunt a few months ago. Remember Wilson’s ten-point guide to resisting “Obama tyranny,” a vile screed that not once cautioned those who read it to refrain from violence — or even any display of personal hatred for the man. And I will remember what most of you don’t know, and that’s the few, but real, behind-the-scenes and off-record threatening, ugly, malicious and jolting comments I’ve received as a result of my speaking out and writing against Wilsonian and Tea Party bigotry. I’m not anyone of any consequence or importance, such that I have reason to be afraid; I don’t hold myself as anyone significant enough to be concerned, really, and this certainly isn’t about me. But I swear that, personal grief and horror aside, I will never back down from fighting against those elements in this country and in this county who act in hate and encourage malice, and there isn’t anything on this earth that will keep me quiet in the face of this false, horrific gospel of filth perpetrated in the name of Christ.

And yeah, I hold people like Courtney and Wilson responsible — not accountable, but responsible — for this and all other acts of terror whose increase, I’m afraid, is assured in the climate they encourage, revel in, and profit from. No way in hell will I ever stop fighting them. It won’t be on Vision, but it will be there.

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