So I don't know. I don't have anything new to offer about this tragedy, except maybe from the perspective of a perpetually analytical parent, and here's why: I'm a million times better as a person since having my kid, and not for the reasons you might think. It's not because I realized, holy cow, I have a human being to care for, and got my life together (though, to some extent, I did). It's not because I matured (I didn't), got all insta-lovey (I didn't), or hooked up with a network of other parents (I tried, and believe me, I can't). It's because, for the first time, I realized something that was true all along: There is someone who is paying attention to what I say and do.
Not all the time. But having my son just THERE, all the time, made me realize that, you know? This person sees me, really watches me. He has real expectations of me.
What you say, how you say it, and what you do have consequences, good and bad, far beyond what you might imagine.
Obama, of course, said it better, but I feel like I was on the same wavelength:
They are so deserving of our good example.
I want America to be as good as she imagined it.
With apologies to all my out-of-state friends, Arizona is the most amazing state there is. Our sunsets are so unbelievable that other countries used to think photos of them were doctored propaganda images. You can't go out a door without seeing at least a few mountains, and we have this little hole in the ground you might have heard of. You can look down the Grand Canyon and look back in time, through billions of years in our planet's history. Our animals ... well, you know how I feel about our animals. We pretty much own the saguaro. We have a great art scene, seriously amazing food, and, well, I could go on for a while. And dude. I wore shorts today.
And the people, seriously. Arizona's got real, honest-to-goodness cowboys. (My mom's old boss used to say his top three priorities in life were 1) his horse; 2) his dog; and 3) his wife; in that order.) But it's the regular folks, mostly. I hear stories every day of people who help, always and extremely -- and half the time, I hear it in the course of reporting some other, unrelated thing, like it's a given and unimportant: Well, yeah; I was still in some pain from being shot and carjacked yesterday. I just figured, no one ELSE is going to help my friend move before he's kicked out. (Real example.) If you're ever visiting Arizona and decide to take a hike and run into an Arizonan, you can count on a brief lecture on heat and the importance of hydration, but you can also count on that person sharing his or her last quart of water.
Arizona rocks, everyone. Let's show it. Our kids deserve our good examples. These victims sure deserve it. We all deserve it. It won't make it better; it won't make it worth it, not by a very long shot. But it's a chance to honor them, and a chance to do what we should have been doing all along.
Let's make it count.