I'd just returned from the gym on Saturday morning and was about to head for the shower when Tucson Weekly publisher Tom Lee called. I answered the phone; Tom said something unintelligible and hung up.
I was about to call him back, but for some reason, I decided to quickly check my e-mail first. I saw this message from him: Twitter feeds are coming in that Congresswoman Giffords and eight other people were shot this morning in Tucson.
What followed have been the four most emotionally draining days of my journalism career (and the careers of my amazing colleagues). By far.
Of course, we now know that the events of Saturday, Jan. 8, were far worse than even Tom's horrific e-mail described. We know that six people lost their lives (including, heartbreakingly, a 9-year-old girl); that more than a dozen others were injured; and that—as of this Tuesday-evening writing—miraculously, Gabrielle Giffords will probably survive, according to doctors.
We know that a very messed-up young man, Jared Lee Loughner, is the alleged murderer.
Sadly, we also know that talking heads and politicians are starting to point fingers. Some are blaming Sarah Palin, Jon Justice, et al., for playing some sort of role in creating a climate that led to the massacre. (They didn't; this was apparently the work of one incredibly sick 22-year-old, period.) In response, media figures from the right are claiming, or at least insinuating, that their charged, sometimes hateful words aren't harmful. (They are. Very much so.)
There's also a lot that we don't know. We don't know how complete Giffords' recovery will be. We don't know what the long-term fallout, political and otherwise, will be. Well, whatever happens, I promise you that the Tucson Weekly will be here to chronicle and explain it all.
Meanwhile ... although most of us are sad, angry and perhaps a little afraid, we have to keep going. That's why, outside of our Currents section, we're bringing you the same newsweekly that was planned before the horrors of Saturday unfolded—including our Spring Arts Preview.
Enjoy, or at least try to enjoy. We're gonna get through this.