Unsettled

Cold, wind, and the occasional spitting rain settled into the Grand Valley this weekend, and what follows tonight is the first real cold snap of autumn. Yesterday and into last night the wind became constant and bitter. My yard and walk were littered with large branches this morning.

The weather is unsettled, and some of the human dynamic that accompanies it has been unsettling as well. Arianna Huffington summarized some if it in her Sunday Roundup:

“The party of Lincoln has gone from appealing to “the better angels of our nature” to evoking the darkest demons of our nature. Nevertheless, it was Cindy McCain who accused Obama of having ‘waged the dirtiest campaign in American history’ — a breathtaking display of projection.”

Attendees at McCain political rallies have taken a decidedly ugly turn of late, although to McCain’s credit he came to Obama’s defense.

People have a right to be upset and angry, but not at one side of this race. Both sides of the aisle have significant culpability issues for the financial turmoil that we find ourselves in. Emotion needs to be put aside; a calm examination of who is best prepared to lead, and how they expect to lead us through our current situation, needs to be the focus now.

This weekend was decidedly unsettled and tragic on several fronts. I arrived at St. Mary’s to work on Saturday morning, only to be greeted by security at every entrance and the hospital in lockdown, in response to the shootings that brought 4 innocent victims to the hospital. I rounded the ER toward the one entrance that was open, just in time to see the GJFD unload the shooter from an ambulance and wheel him inside. He died earlier today.

The parallels to the 1999 Eastgate Shopping Center shootings (I was working at that scene for a short while) started to gather in my head, and the Sentinel saw fit to recall that event as part of their coverage today. I had no problem with it; I hope that Sarah Anderson’s family and her two sons are OK.

I was a little concerned about the reported reaction of one Chestnut Drive area resident to this tragedy. This resident was quoted as saying, “You just don’t expect this to happen. You expect it in downtown.”

Uh, right.

As a somewhat educated observer, I’ve been impressed with the calm professionalism and transparency that has surrounded both the response and the investigation into what is a highly unusual occurrence for the Grand Junction area (and yes, that includes Downtown). As with the Eastgate shootings, the GJPD and the Sheriff’s office appeared to work together well, with little confusion or duplication of effort.

Bottom line: May God’s peace that transcends all understanding be upon the Fine and Gallagher families, as well as the residents of that neighborhood. Any small tribute that I could provide pales in comparison to Nancy McCarroll’s post today. My heart is also drawn to the family of the two-year old child shot and killed in Denver this morning.

I pray that cooler heads and civil tongues will prevail as the bluster of this weekend gives way to more stable conditions, as it did at 3:00 this morning (I couldn’t sleep). The winds were calm, the air was cool, the neighborhood quiet.

One sign that things were normalizing today; it was a great day for football. I watched the upstart Arizona Cardinals hold their own against the Dallas Cowboys in overtime. No anger or overtly emotional behavior was present on the Arizona sideline, with the exception of after they scored the winning points by blocking a punt, of all things. Well done.

Let’s hope for more civility and humility in the days ahead, with a touch of the resolute. Here’s to a better week for all.

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