In this week's issue, former U.S. Rep. Ron Barber writes about the tragic mass shooting of 19 people on Jan. 8, 2011 that left six dead. That day we joined a special club—he and those killed and wounded joined the club of mass shooting victims and we joined the club of communities rocked by gun violence.
We were never the same after that Saturday morning. I suppose those of us who weren't at that north Tucson Safeway, will always recall where we were and how we found out and reacted to the violence and loss.
Did you go the UMC front lawn like hundreds of others who gathered in disbelief in vigil, praying and hoping former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and others would pull through victorious? Did you gather at Giffords' Tucson office to leave offerings, light candles and again, more prayer and more tears?
That morning I was with a women's writing group when I finally answered my phone, my editor at the time telling me the news and assigning everyone on staff a job for the day. I remember calling my family letting them know what I'd be doing that day and the next and the next.
On one hand it was a day of sadness that we all felt, but it was also a day of action as the Tucson Weekly staff went about their work. Even recalling that day, those involved in putting out the newspaper and our online content from that time remain proud of the work we did.
However, since that day there have been many other victims of gun violence and many other communities left in sadness. Back then we all began asking ourselves, and what Barber asks in this issue: What will it take to reduce gun violence in America? What's sad is that that question remains unanswered. Tucson, what will we do? The weekend of the shooting, thousands of Tucsonans will gather to remember Jan. 8.
While many of us have the resolve that something must change, a hopelessness sometimes exists that politics and the gun lobby will always rule the day. Besides fighting that hopelessness, we recommend you get outside with other Tucsonans at Beyond Tucson events happening throughout our region on Saturday, Jan. 9. Go to Beyond-Tucson.org. Created to help us remember, reflect and get outside, Beyond continues to remind us that we are more than a community rocked to our core that day. We remain a community with a big heart, despite all of our challenges, despite ourselves.
— Mari Herreras, email@example.com