Friday, January 14, 2011

Shooting Puts Tucson Officially On the Map, Right Beside Waco and Columbine

Posted By on Fri, Jan 14, 2011 at 9:32 AM

Tucson is officially on the map. Not for anything gorgeous like our weather or saguaro. Nor for anything unique or even inane, like our javelina or multi-million-dollar trolley.

We’ve instead joined the ranks of notorious places plagued by senseless violence.

The sunny Saturday Safeway shooting that left six dead and several wounded—with U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords shot through the brain—made sure of that.

We’re right up there with Columbine and Waco.

To be fair, Tucson did have a running start as a hotbed of hatred due to last summer’s SB 1070 brouhaha. Angry protests and flag burning set the stage for something to snap.

We just didn’t yet know his name.

Suspected shooter Jared Lee Loughner is now surrounded by a slate of speculation on what makes him tick. The only thing we know for sure is that anyone who opens at a Safeway has to have a clock that is more than a bit off.

In addition to shattering dozens of lives, the shooting shattered many myths to which we might have been clinging for a sense of security and sanity.

We’ll start with the victims. Even some people who do not agree with Giffords’ politics agree on another fact—she actually cared. The shooting proved assassination attempts are not specifically reserved for greedy, ratty or smarmy politicians, or even judges with whom the shooter has a beef.

Victim U.S. District Judge John Roll had been on the scene to visit Giffords at her community event.

Others on hand were average Tucsonans, like you and me, either hoping to meet the congresswoman or out for their usual grocery run.

The shooting’s location shatters another myth. We expect high crime to seethe from the seedier pockets of Tucson, or even downtown after dark, but not a northwest-side neighborhood nestled near the foothills at Oracle and Ina roads.

The area is instead generally known for quiet retired folks and shops that include a Whole Foods mart and a chichi Chico’s—not a place where buying asparagus on the weekend can get you killed.

Often referred to as a big city with a small town feel, Tucson’s cute little motto has also now gone down the tubes. The small-town citizen is supposed to leave his doors unlocked and his arms open wide. He’s the type ready to help his fellow man, or woman, by changing a tire, repairing a roof or even walking a dog if the owner is under the weather — not open fire on his fellow with a Glock.

Welcome to the big time.

One of the reasons I moved out of New York City was the pervading sense of doom the city could not shake loose after Sept. 11.

Increased security measures, meant to make people feel safer, also served to increase the paranoia. Cops stocked subway stations and street corners in droves, responding to the latest bomb scare or a report that someone who looked suspicious might have sneezed.

Tucson simply does not have enough money or manpower to take the same kind of measures. Even if it did, such measures would not make much of a difference when there’s always a chance of a loose cannon striking at any random moment and any random time and place.

Even on a sunny Saturday at Safeway.

Ryn Gargulinski, aka Rynski, is a writer, artist, performer and poet. Her radio show airs every Wednesday and her column appears every Friday. See more writing and art from RYNdustries at and


Tags: , , , , ,

Comments (6)

Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

Previously in the Range

More by Ryn Gargulinski

  • Gargulinski

    There's still hope for a Tucson truck driver's 'widow'
    • Jun 13, 2013
  • Gargulinski

    Horrors turn to hope when you give a vet a pet (and go for holistic pet care)
    • Apr 18, 2013
  • Gargulinski

    Knock, knock ... Who's there? Someone who wants to sell you something
    • Mar 21, 2013
  • More »
Today | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun
Meditation and Buddhist study

Meditation and Buddhist study @ Sky Island Zen

Mondays, Saturdays

All of today's events | Staff Picks

Staff Pick

Downtown United Against Hunger Halloween party

Halloween party at 415/417 N. 4th Ave, hosted by Bar Passe and organized by Downtown United Against… More

@ Bar Passe Fri., Oct. 25, 8 p.m.-2 a.m. 417 N. 4th Ave.

» More Picks

Submit an Event Listing

Popular Content

  1. Claytoon of the Day: Quid Pro Uh-Oh (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  2. Claytoon of the Day: Feel The Endorsements (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  3. Things to Do, Monday, Oct. 21 (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  4. Adoptable Pets: Roy Needs a Home (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  5. XOXO: Where to Rock, Monday, Oct. 21 (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)

© 2019 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation