This week I watched with pride as President Obama addressed the nation from my Alma mater, the University of Arizona, and implored each of us to use the Tucson tragedy as inspiration to be better:
To be better in our private lives, to be better friends and neighbors and coworkers and parents.
As he spoke, I couldn’t help but think of one particular act of kindness that followed those terrible events of last Saturday. I share it with you because, while it may be overlooked among so many other acts of heroism, I think it illustrates one of the most courageous and even instructive in our efforts at healing our own communities:
The parents of suspect Jared Loughner are also getting support – even from strangers. People have been dropping off cards and flowers at the home of Randy and Amy Loughner Wednesday. One of them was nurse Lisa Campbell, who lives about three miles away and doesn’t know the couple. She brought by a card and flowers. Campbell said in the card were her name and phone number – in case they wanted someone to talk to.
Admittedly, this story probably strikes such a cord with me because, in my own attempts to comprehend such senseless violence, I often shake my head and wonder (like I know many of you do), “Where are the parents? What failure was it of theirs that allowed something so horrible to happen at the hands of their child?”
And those may be perfectly worthy questions, which is why it makes the actions of people like Lisa Campbell (no relation) all the more profound, and timely as we celebrate the life and memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a man who – when he saw suffering – did what he could to help, no matter who it was that needed him or why they were in pain.
So, on the 82nd anniversary of Dr. King’s birthday, may we all have the courage and compassion to do the same in our own communities, with our own neighbors who, at first glance, may not appear to want or even deserve it.