You can read the Huffington Post's take on it, or you can try to find the head of the Republican party in Pima County defending himself on CNN -- for raffling a Glock as a fundraiser. The same type of gun used by the shooter on January 8th in the Safeway parking lot, the same kind of weapon that injured my Congresswoman and killed the 9 year old who was holding my hand.
Or you can just see what the hoopla is all about by looking at this screenshot of the Pima County Republican party's eTracks:
I'm 23 hours late to the party, it seems. I was finishing my physical therapy when I saw the story on the flat screen on the wall in front of the stationary bike.
I started to shake. I started to cry. I don't do that in public. The therapist reached for my hand and we stood there, mesmerized, as I felt the blanket were being pulled out from under me.
Not a rug, used for stepping on. The blanket of love, of protection, of wanting to help me to feel better and to get better and to do better was gone. It vanished in an instant as I saw the weapon that created the need for all this cossetting at the centerpiece of a fundraising program.
Are they tone deaf? I thought it, I heard others saying it, I read it on Facebook and Twitter and I'm still wondering. I came right home and called the Arizona GOP Headquarters and I asked them. I wondered if there were someone there who could tell me why this was a good idea. I was willing to listen, I said, because I had a broken heart and I needed an explanation.
There was no one there who could talk to me.
I identified myself, again. I reminded him about Christina. I kinda sorta lost it on the phone and through my tears I asked him how it felt to have made me cry. Perhaps (okay, really and truly) I was a little over the top, but in my defense it was real and it was raw and it was how their actions had impacted an Arizonan. I thought they should know. I left my name and phone number. It's after close of business; I'm still waiting to hear from someone.
The kind woman at the Pima County GOP knew who I was and I could tell from her voice that she, too, was really sorry about what had happened. She was a Tucsonan and this happened to all of us and we were all fairly brittle. She apologized that everyone - "really, every single one" -- was talking to the television people but I'm sure that she did as she promised and passed my request for an explanation along to the appropriate person. She's a Tucsonan.
My husband and I went out to lunch and I kept crying.... at intervals.... but crying. He had that I wish I could make this all go away face on and that just made me even sadder. This wasn't about gun rights. This has nothing to do with the 2nd Amendment. This has to do with Civility, Respect and Understanding, what has come to be the central theme of the tragedy. This has to do with making me feel alone.
You have read it here, and my friends and neighbors and strangers have heard me say it in person, but it bears repeating again and again -- the love I have felt over these last 8 months has been the single biggest factor in my healing. Once my life was saved and I was on the mend, I could lean into the warm and comforting arms of my town, my county, my state and feel safe. Everyone cared. People stopped what they were doing to hug me. Reporters were kind and strangers offered me prayers and smiles and encouragement.
Tea Party t-shirt wearers sent me get well cards. Gun owners wished me godspeed. Those messages warmed my heart. I wasn't alone. People on all ends of the spectrum were on my side. For some reason I need you to understand that this isn't a 2nd Amendment issue. I wouldn't care if it were a fundraiser for a gun club or the NRA. I have no problem with those kinds of organizations or with their member as long as they don't show up on my front lawn.
But this was my county's Republican party. This wasn't an event restricted to a weaponry-related group. Anyone can subscribe to eTracks; I did for a while, just to see what they were up to. Anyone can go to their headquarters and hand over $10 for a chance to own the same kind of weapon that ....
I know, I know, it was the shooter and not the gun itself. I accept that argument. I don't worry that it will fall into bad hands; I'm assuming someone will make sure the new owner is legally entitled to possess the thing and beyond that there's nothing we can do. This is Arizona and I knew about the guns before we emigrated from California. It's part of our swagger.
This isn't about the gun. This is about a political party so insensitive to the impact of its actions that they would expose themselves to vitriol and me to heartbreak. They are using the type of weapon that hurt us to raise money to get out the vote. They are selling $1250 worth of tickets.
Frankly, I think they are foolish. I think they should sell $100 tickets, or $500 tickets. The thing costs $549 without any bells and whistles (no, I cannot bring myself to make it easy for you to buy one... you'll have to search on your own) and the raffle ticket is deductible. Then they should announce that all but $10 of each ticket will be donated to Tucson Together, the fund established after January 8th.
They realize the same amount of money and clean out their closet (the raffled weapon was left over from a previous event) and they do a good deed, too. I could have looked at the gun then, knowing that some good would come out of its existence on the planet. I could have watched without shaking.
Instead, I am sad and CTG's family is sad and our band-aids have been ripped off and we're aching again. I know that it's to be expected and I know that the world can't stop because my heart hurts but this was an area which had no sharp edges up until now. Everyone was kind and thoughtful and careful and I'd come to expect it.
That's why this rankles so much; it is so un-Tucson. This is not who we are.
The Pima County GOP is a large pea under my princess stacked mattresses right now. Delicate flower that I am, I just don't know what to do.
a/b from The Burrow at http://ashleighburroughs.blogspot.com
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