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Editorial: Death of child adds pain to an already bruised nation

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By William J. Dagendesh

wj.dagendesh@colostate-pueblo.edu

Christina Taylor Green was an A student, dancer, gymnast and swimmer who dreamed of becoming the first woman to play major league baseball.

Unfortunately, the exuberant third-grader will never get to pursue her dream. Taylor Green was shot dead by a disturbed gunman who on Saturday, Jan. 8, showed up at a supermarket in Tucson, Ariz. to shoot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. The congress woman and 12 people survived the rampage. Taylor Green and five other people did not.

Christina Taylor Green, a 9-year-old, was killed in the Tuscon shooting on Saturday, Jan. 8. Photo courtesy of NYDailyNews.com.

Taylor Green was 9 years-old.

When I first learned of the shootings and of this child’s death, I was stunned that another young life had been snuffed out by another act of violence.

Thanks to the gunman, Taylor Green will never experience her first crush, attend her senior prom, graduate high school, attend college, pursue a career, fall in love, get married and raise children. She could have been a doctor who finds a cure for cancer, or the first astronaut to walk on planet Mars. She was interested in politics and might have grown to become the nation’s first woman president.

Alas, society will never know.

This seemingly adorable child reminds me of my own daughter, Rosemary, 19. Like Taylor Green, Rosemary is an A student, has dark hair, an infectious smile and an insatiable love for life. She cooks, raises gerbils, is computer savvy and, unlike her dad, can operate a cell phone with lightning fast precision. Like most teenagers, she loves music and sends my grocery bill into orbit.

I can’t begin to imagine my life without my daughter, and I can only begin to imagine the pain her family and friends must endure.

On Wednesday President Barack Obama recognized Taylor Green during a memorial service honoring the shooting victims at the University of Arizona. Each of the shootings is no less tragic than the shooting of this child. These people were husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, and sisters and brothers. Some of them were active in their communities and church.

However, it is especially heart breaking when a child becomes a victim of violence and is robbed of their chance to experience life. Taylor Green loved life and all it had to offer her, and she gave those feelings back by participating in a charity that helped children who are less fortunate, Obama said.

“She showed an appreciation for life, uncommon for a girl her age,” Obama said. “She would remind her mother ‘We are so blessed, we have the best life.’”

Taylor Green appeared to have a smile that could melt the coldest heart, and people who never knew this youngster seemed to fall in love with her. What is ironic is that Taylor Green was born on Sept. 11, 2001, a day in which thousands of people died as the result of a senseless act of bloodshed. Nine years later, Taylor Green herself died as the result of yet another senseless act of bloodshed.

Life truly is unfair.

This tragedy raises many questions. Should people be allowed to own a gun? Should gun laws and background checks be stricter? Should the general public be allowed to buy semi-automatic weapons? Should these weapons be restricted for military use only? Should public assemblies be held outside? How can we better safeguard our children when out in public?

I wish I had a solution that would ensure the safety of our children when out in public where crazed gunman and pedophiles walk the streets, and drunken hit-and-run vehicle operators drive the roads.

Until that day arrives, I strongly encourage parents to tell their children they love them every day. Life is short and there is no guarantee our children will live another day, live to be an old age or even outlive their parents. Like Taylor Green, children can be taken from us in the blink of an eye, changing forever the lives of those who knew and loved them.