I sit in a comfortable chair, wearing cuddle-duds and yoga clothing, my feet stretched out and the windows I’m facing full of gently-falling snow and a tree of cardinals. All this comfort and peace, all this beauty, and I cannot help but to want to share it with those who need it most at this time, particularly the families of the six people killed in Tucson two days ago. As I read their stories on various sites, I’m reminded again how everyone has a fascinating life, and most of us — in spite of the language of hatred — have lives infused with kindness. I’m also moved by how diverse these people were.
I’m taking this morning to learn about them, and to wish their families, friends and communities all manner of comfort, beauty and peace.
Gabe Zimmerman, 30, Rep. Gifford’s aide, oversaw thousands of Gifford’s constituents’ cases, his whole job focused on helping people. He worked so hard, in fact, that a revelation in his life was falling in love. A friend former co-worker reported that Zimmerman was engaged to a woman he loved deeply.
Dorwan Stoddard, 78, died while protecting his wife, who he told to dive down before he threw himself on top of her to keep her safe. “No one was surprised that he jumped in front to save her,” Katerry Joplin (a church friend) said. “We would’ve been surprised if he hadn’t.” The Stoddards were very active in the Mountain Avenue Church of Christ, and although Giffords was Jewish, they didn’t let their different faiths keep them apart.
Phyllis Schneck, 79, recently moved to Tucson to escape the New Jersey winters after she lost her husband of 56 years some years back. She was known for donating her handmade quilts and needlepoint projects to help raise funds for food banks and children’s charities.
Judge John Roll, 63, appointed to the district court by President George W. Bush, left behind three children, five grandchildren, and his wife. One of his friends, Lee Mellor, told KGUN9, “If you’d ever had somebody that you truly believed as a good person, yeah, that would be him. As a prosecutor I worked with him. He was a very good prosecutor. As a judge, I don’t think you could have asked for anything better than to have a case tried before him because he was fair.”
Dorothy Morris, 79, was married to a stance Republican, George, who went to the event to talk with Rep. Giffords. He also threw her to the ground and himself on top of her, but it was too late, and he was shot twice (and is not recovering at he hospital). George called Dot his girlfriend or bride, even after over 50 years of marriage.
Christina Taylor Green, 9, who as most of us know was born on 9/11, was passionate about politics, baseball, horseback riding and swimming. A neighbor took her to the event. Her mother told The New York Daily News of Christina, “She was all about helping people and being involved. It’s so tragic. She went to learn today, and then someone with so much hatred in their heart took the lives of innocent people.”