Posted tagged ‘gun control’

Weekly Photo Challenge: Love

January 31, 2013

Another photo challenge? And with the theme of LOVE?  “Oh no!” I thought, “I will skip it.” I knew that a huge number of bloggers would respond to it and I did not feel compelled at that time to search for photos of loving couples, mothers with babies, people with puppies, kittens, and roses…. My mind was occupied with a different issue – the issue of growing gun violence in this country. And gun violence is the opposite of love! Gun violence breaks hearts of so many. Although I have addressed the gun violence issue in this blog several times, I still had plans to voice myself about it again. Articles, newspaper clippings and photographs were piling on my desk. A bunch of links gathered on my computer desktop were also waiting when I opened Jim Nintzel’s (Tucson Weekly journalist) tweet informing about the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings the next day—January 30th (which was yesterday)—and I knew immediately that I would watch it. I also knew that I would take that photo challenge on LOVE, even at the risk of being very late.

Hears of love for Gabrielle Giffords

Tucson Loves Gabby

Paper hears of school children for Gabby Giffords

Loving Gabby

Paper chains with messages for Gabby Giffords

Chain of Love

I took these photos two years ago in front of the University Medical Center (in Tucson) where our Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords—affectionately called Gabby by Tucsonans—was fighting for her life after the violent shooting spree by Jared Loughner. Six lives, including 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green, plus a number of injured were the horrible toll of that shooting. It placed Tucson at the center of attention of the entire country and the world. That was two years ago and in the meantime several other horrible and senseless shootings have occurred—the latest, and the most brutal, took the lives of 20 children and six of their heroic teachers at the Sandy Hook School.

Yes, it was two years ago. Tucson took time for healing and so did Gabby to recover from the severe head injury inflicted on her. It is remarkable how well she is recovering. We witnessed her painful struggle for many months, admiring her strength and determination. She could finally return her love for Tucson by moving back here recently with her husband Captain Mark Kelly. Mark’s presence by her side from day one of the tragedy and his dedication to Gabby’s recovery became a symbol of a durable love.

Gabrielle Giffords with her husband Mark Kelly

Gabby and Mark – photo PK Weis

And there is another story of love, love larger than life. It is Gabby’s love for her work, her loyalty to her constituents, her love of Tucson, of Arizona, and of this country. Such love requires solid dedication. And our former congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords, demonstrated that before the Tucson tragedy and she demonstrates that now while still recovering. Her tireless effort to do the right thing for society is so inspiring that TIME magazine recently featured her on its cover.

The cover of Time magazine

Gabby’s short and moving statement yesterday in front of the Judiciary Committee touched me deeply and, I am sure, touched millions. I was tearful watching her with amazement that two years after that horrible day of January 8th of 2011, “our Gabby” could deliver her statement and that she looked so beautiful, as if nothing had happened! But it did happen! That is why she was there. In spite of the limitations that tragedy had placed on her, she was there in an effort to prevent similar future tragedies. If that is not an expression of love, than what is?!

Gabby Giffords making statement in front of the Judiciary Committee

Gabby Giffords making her statement

“Speaking is difficult but I need to say something important,” stated Gabrielle Giffords at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. “Violence is a big problem. Too many children are dying – too many children. We must do something. It will be hard. But the time is now. You must act….”

That’s right— there is no excuse for inaction. And yes, it will require some love by the people for the people to get involved and to demand significant changes to our current gun laws and regulations.

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Here are some links for you to explore:


Jim Nintzel

Violent Imagery Shapes Our Reality

American Tragedy in Tucson

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Text and photos copyright © 2013 by Alicja Mann except photo (cropped) of Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly              © 2013 by PK Weis

Violent Imagery Shapes Our Reality

January 26, 2011

Deadly wounds are healing slowly in Tucson. More than two weeks have passed already since Black Saturday (as one of my friends called the 8th of January) and most conversations and local news are still wrapped like tangled ribbons around that tragic event. People’s responses are amazing and in overwhelming numbers as always when great tragedy is encountered. The evidence of it is visible in front of the University Medical Center where the injured were treated — masses of flowers, notes, candles, photographs, and stuffed animals left for our Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of the shooting.

Memorial to Gabielle Giffords

The word “love” is visible and has surfaced very strongly in response to that tragic event.

Yes, Tucson is healing indeed, but an important quest now should follow. How do we prevent such tragedies in the future?

Almost everybody agrees that we have to be more civil in our political debates. I am also sure that there will be a lot of discussions concerning the gun control issue. I already received a letter/petition from Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts gently addressing the very issue of gun control in this country. “Look,” the letter says, “this isn’t about taking guns away from anyone who wants to buy them legally. It’s simply a plan to fix the system we have so that it respects the rights of stable, law abiding citizens but keeps guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them.”

Such debates likely will take place in other states, but I doubt they will in Arizona. Here in Arizona too many believe that possession of guns is the basic right of a citizen and that it represents one of our fundamental freedoms.

“Guns do not kill, people do,” I hear, and there is some truth to it. Of course, there are exceptions, like the recent accident at one of LA’s schools where a gun fired unexpectedly in a student’s backpack and wounded a couple of other students. The presence of guns in schools is an absurdity, but it is today’s reality.

Why is there so much violence in our country?

Michael Moore in his movie Bowling for Columbine addressed that question several years ago. He spent a lot of time wandering from place to place in search of an answer. Then to his surprise (and ours) he found that our Canadian neighbors, like Americans, own a lot of guns, yet they don’t shoot each other nearly as often or as violently as we do. So what is the problem? It is clear to me that the answer is attitude — the attitude of righteousness, arrogance, and intolerance mixed with a desire to solve any problem by using power.

Such an attitude is nurtured slowly in the average American from an early age by constant exposure to an immense variety of violent imagery — starting from the war toys and electronic games to violent images pouring from our TV and movie screens.

"The American" DVD cover with George Clooney "Salt" DVD cover with Angelina Jolie

Let’s look for instance at the very popular movie Salt starring Angelina Jolie. The plot is very naïve, outdated, and hard to follow. The speed of the action is so high and intense and predictable that it might as well be no action at all. There is no question that watching Angelina Jolie full of amazing energy is the major attraction. Her skill in beating, kicking, jumping, and shooting is astonishing and the ridiculous ending of the movie strongly suggests that some day we might have Salt II to entertain us more.

A beautiful woman better trained and fit than any man, superior, and unbeatable. How very sexy! Yes, she is very sexy with or without guns, but being angry and running with a gun seems to be the new image of an exciting, sexy woman.

Just watch out (soon) for new and dangerous gangs of angry, ticked off “girls” on your street. Aren’t we — women — finally equal? Sure! How exciting!

Violence is glorified in this society; celebrities are almost worshipped or at least strongly occupy the minds of many. In the age of Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter everyone seems to want to have a piece of fame! A desire to be noticed, to be followed, to be more popular than others, to become a star even for a short moment.

Impressionable people (including “unstable minds”) want to have a piece of fame, too, without much work. Doing something outrageous and very noticeable seems to be an easy way. A political attack can fulfill that desire even more effectively.

We need to address the issue of glorifying violence sooner rather than later — before we find ourselves again in another “time for healing.”

Our society has changed its attitude towards many important issues, like the environment, smoking and eating habits. If we can change those, we can change our attitude towards violence, too.

Don’t you agree?

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Copyright © 2011 by Alicja Mann

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