We love our friends on Twitter. We love the community we have met there, especially the connections we have made through #LATISM. Today, we also had the pleasure of asking Tucson native and Twitter friend, Ana Gonzales Lewis, her thoughts about the tragedy. Here is what she said:
Tucson’s Ana Gonzales Lewis
JRV: As a Twitter profile who tweets about local issues in Tucson, how would you say the community is handling this tragedy?
AGL: I think that this tragedy has had a huge impact on the entire city. For example, a local non-profit organization, Ben Bells distributes handmade clay wind chimes in secret to heroes every week. This week, Ben Bells distributed about 1,000 bells, but 1,400 volunteers showed up to help out. There were more volunteers than bells! Everyone is feeling the need for unity and community right now.
JRV: How has this crime impacted the Tucson community?
AGL: The community has had to deal with the long-term impact of the fact that in most places, it’s legal to bring a concealed weapon. At the local community college that [suspect Jared] Loughner attended, they have had to have mental health experts speak to the instructors, to help them deal with mentally ill students and the signs they need to be more aware of.
JRV: What do you think will happen once the “cameras all leave?”
AGL: Once the cameras leave, I don’t think Tucson is going to be much different from it is now. Yes, it will heal, but even though the metropolitan Tucson area has a million people in it, it is very much a town at heart. It’s pretty much what you see on camera. A lovely college town with mountains, golf courses and the best Mexican food/margaritas.
JRV: Do you think the Tucson community will heal or is this just a sign that the worst is still in front of us? Share your thoughts about this.
AGL: I am worried about the long-term picture of Tucson. We still have a 22-year-old assassin that needs to go to trial. And, I don’t think Gabby Giffords will ever be the same. A gunshot wound to the head is serious business. Her beauty and strength (as I believe with all my heart, she will be back), will be a heart-wrenching reminder of how we need to do better.
JRV: Has you seen a more respectful tone among contrasting views in the Tuscon community or is it still “business as usual?” Can you provide examples?
AGL: There are a lot of emotions being felt throughout Tucson right now — anger, heartbreak, frustration and even some finger-pointing, but all-in-all, it seems like most people, as President Obama said, are trying to use “healing words.”
To meet Ana and connect with her (she is fabulous), follow her here on Twitter. We stand united with Tucson and America.