Much will be written about Gabby Giffords in the days to come, and much will be written about the distinguished federal judge, John Roll, who died that day, and the young girl brimming with potential whose life was cut so short. I didn't know most of the victims, but I can say a little about Gabe Zimmerman, Giffords' young aide, who has come to the Portal community several times, sent by Gabby to meet with us on Forest Service-related issues, and to speak at our local Heritage Days festival in Rodeo on the issue of immigration reform.
Gabe Zimmerman struck all of us who dealt with him as a bright light flaming in a world that badly needs light. He was the sort of intelligent young person whose potential shines brilliantly, someone you want to watch, to see what he does with his life. All of us who had worked with him are deeply mourning his loss.
In this fractious world, people too often subvert their own intelligence and judgment, and identify atavistically with tribal allegiances (Republican/Democrat/Tea Party). That kind of angry identification doesn't allow for real discourse to develop on complex, subtle, and vitally important issues. It doesn't allow for solutions to problems to emerge.
We really need voices like those of Gabe Zimmerman and Gabrielle Giffords. There is no way of knowing the true dimensions of what we have lost––of what the world has lost.
Sunset on a bitter day, January 8, 2011
(Photo by Narca)