In the crosshairs? Not anymore
Just ask Curt Weldon. A few years ago the longtime GOP congressman appeared on the front page of this newspaper “in the crosshairs” to demonstrate that he was being targeted for a legitimate challenge from Democrats.
We used that graphic element to tell a story, to make a point.
That all changed Saturday, when a deranged gunman interrupted a town hall-style meeting being held by a congresswoman in her district in Tucscon, Ariz.
Jared Loughner, 22, opened fire on U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and others outside a supermarket during one of her routine “congresswoman on the corner” meetings.
Before Loughner was tackled by bystanders as he tried to reload, six people were killed, including the 9-year-old granddaughter of former Phillies manager Dallas Green.
Fourteen others were wounded, including Giffords, was was shot at point-blank range. She remains in critical condition in a medically induced coma.
The echoes of the gunfire had barely fallen silent when another sound was heard.
People took to the Internet, social media, Facebook and Twitter to decry the increasingly bitter tenor of what passes for political discourse in this country.
I agree the vitriol needs to stop; I’m not sure if that had anything to do with what happened in Arizona. I’m not sure at this point that anyone does.
But as I posted story after story about the shooting onto our website Saturday and Sunday, I wondered about where our country is headed. About what can be done – if anything – to stop such nonsense. About how wide – and how heated – the divide in this country has become.
And I know it needs to stop. We need to change.
How remains to be seen. It would be nice to think that everyone will step back from the fury, and make a conscious decision to dial it down several notches.
I’m not going to hold my breath. Instead I see both sides simply using the tragedy in Arizona to push their own agenda.
I do know this. You will wait a long time before you see this newspaper use a crosshairs device again.
An innocent 9-year-old girl has been killed. A U.S. congresswoman and 14 other people were shot.
I think it’s time.