When I was a little kid I grew up, like most kids still do, believing that the United States is the best nation in the world, and basically unaware of the troubles that many in the world encounter everyday.
My grandmother lived near Legion Field in Birmingham. We would visit her on Sundays.
One Sunday I was not allowed to go outside to play because a bomb had exploded killing four black girls.
The troubles of the world quickly became the troubles of my world.
Then came Martin Luther King, Jr., LBJ, Bobby Kennedy, and the events of the 1960's.
But as time went on I really, really thought that the hatred and violence that I grew up so close to was becoming a thing of the past.
My plans for today were to attend a rally about peace and human rights in Birmingham that is held every year around Martin Luther King day.
But how can you focus on peace when violence has come to be expected, and a certain amount of violence is thought of as the norm?
When I heard the news of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords being shot, there was a moment of surprise, but then reality sank in. This was predictable. The victim could have been any of a number of congress members. Many of us had spoken or written about the hateful rhetoric of the right, and shuddered at the rantings of Nevada Tea Party angel Sharon Angle who spoke of "second amendment remedies" and Sarah Palin and her "crosshairs" and "reload" and "fire" tweets and Facebook posts and her web site.
Giffords was one of 20 Representatives that voted for health care reform that Palin drew aim at on her web site.
We heard more rhetoric and saw images and video of gun rights advocates carrying weapons at public political events.
We knew then that this day was coming because of messages like this.
Gifford's opponent took Palin's advice, and made Gifford a "Target," allowing supporters to "Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly" (her Republican Tea Party opponent).
Sarah Palin, Jesse Kelly, and whoever wrote this upcoming event blurb, should be held accountable for the murder of a federal judge, the murder of a child, the murders of the the other victims, the attempted murder of Congresswoman Giffords and others. Along with the shooter, who is in custody.
I will post later about the Human Rights rally, held rightfully at Kelly Ingram Park (where just a little over a year ago the Tea Party desecrated the area by holding an event there).
In the meantime, America, remember, you voted the Republicans into office. In doing so, you only encouraged the violence that occurred today. As mom used to say, "You made your bed, now lay in it."