Archive for the ‘Giffords’ Category

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.

Read Full Post »

The Tucson murders have become a part of all us. Today, we had the opportunity to interview Tuscon’s Peter C. Rodriguez, Jr., one of our #LATISM Twitter friends, about his beloved city and how he thinks the city is reacting. Here is what Peter said:

Tucson’s Peter C. Rodriguez, Jr.

JRV: As a Twitter profile who tweets about local issues in Tucson, how would you say the community is handling this tragedy?
PR: Tucson is coming together even more than ever to handle this horrible tragedy. All over the city, I see examples everyday of an already close community coming together even more to heal each other.

JRV: How has this crime impacted the Tucson community?
PR: The initial impact was shock and disbelief. “How can something like this happen in our community?” Then I noticed the city of Tucson, my fellow neighbors, and citizens come together in support of everyone involved in this tragic event.

JRV: What do you think will happen once the “cameras all leave?”
PR: I believe that Tucson will carry on stronger than ever, and we will not allow the memories of this tragic event be forgotten. I personally will not forget those that have lost their lives that day visiting what was suppose to be a peaceful event, especially 9-yr Christina Green. Mr. Obama stated, “We should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children’s expectations”. I plan to honor this statement.

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.
PR: The healing has begun, there are countless memorials all over our beautiful city. The memorials keep growing and I am proud to see the Tucson coming together by the hundreds to heal.

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?
PR: I believe a respectful tone is present in our community and Arizona. There will be always be different views on religion, politics, gun control, SB1070, and other topics in Arizona, but there must be respect for each others views and opinions first, above all.

To connect with Peter on Twitter, visit his profile and say hi. Here is to Tucson, America’s city.

Read Full Post »

There is hope in America again. It is starting to show during the ongoing events of the heinous shootings in Tucson, whether in the cheers we shout to hero Daniel Hernandez or by a simple thumbs up from Gabby Giffords. It still doesn’t eliminate the continuous tweets and posts we see that are shamefully politicizing this event, but the call for America to pause and unite is starting to bubble.

Mind you, Twitter is still going a bit crazy with tweets that are blaming everyone, from Palin to the Tea Party to the Democrats to the Socialists. It’s beyond disrespectful, and just adds more fuel to the political fires.

But as we said, there is hope. And, ironically for us, it started on a Facebook prayer page dedicated to Giffords and run by a Michigan Republican. As the site states: “God bless and heal Gabrielle and all those killed or affected by this tragedy. God Bless America and keep her safe, watch over us all and guide us.” As of January 11, it has over 28K fans.



What is interesting to note is that the Facebook page is run by Jason Asselin, who identifies himself as Republican and associates himself with the Tea Party. The story that explains Asselin’s intentions to create this Facebook page can be found on TucsonCitizen.com, a citizen journalism page that covers Tucson.

As Asselin says in the article:

Our positions political don’t matter right now. We need to come together as America. United we stand, divided we fall: I try to live by that every day.

What was intended as a noble gesture to honor Giffords and other victims of the shooting has still been abused by posters who wanted to politicize the crime. As the article states:

Despite Asselin’s willingness to put aside political ideology in the name of empathy, the Facebook page has been evidence that not all share his perspective. He said his ability to post updates to the page has been taken away, leaving him only able to delete comments and comment on them, and he believes the change is the result of objections from people who think he is trying to use the page to further his political views. “It’s really upsetting,” he said, describing how he has painstakingly read and moderated each comment on the page and deleted those that violate his sense of decency. “I banned like 50 people today,” he said.

This was probably the breaking point for us. When a prayer page gets abuse from people who want to politicize a tragedy, we come to the conclusion that civility and respect no longer exists on social media and in society at large.

So in our effort to promote respect, support (even though we might not agree on a topic), and civility, we suggested a new hashtag for Twitter tonight:




If you are Twitter user and feel the same way that we do, If you believe that essence of Twitter has always been one of support and respect, use #bcivil to remind people. We are not expecting that it will trend to the top, but at least if we can calm our own little corner of Twitter, then maybe there really is hope in America.

So follow #bcivil, and if you want to add your name to the list of Twitter profiles who will use the hashtag, just let me know here via comment or on Twitter and we can add your profile to this blog.


Profiles that will #BCivil on Twitter

@julito77, @fbnovel, @fernandovarela



Read Full Post »

(Credit: Reuters/Rick Wilking)

Dear America:

We need to pause. We need to pause right now.

We need to stop pointing to maps with targets and blogs that say “she is DEAD to me.” We need to stop tweeting, posting, commenting, and sharing our thoughts about what side of the political spectrum is to blame.

We need to share more about the events that have transpired and about the people who died from the gun of a murderer. The time to reflect on the issues is for later. Right now, Tucson mourns and so do you, America.

What has happened to you? Close to 10 years ago, we were united in our greatest tragedy. We looked into each other’s eyes and we cried together. We embraced. We vowed to vaporize the evil that was destroying us. We were one, America. Then things deteriorated. The highest office in your land, America, became fodder for hate. Not once, but twice. The cycle of rhetoric and ratings continued, from both sides of the extreme. And the middle stayed quiet. Until now.

America, you are a crumbling nation that is quick to point fingers and scream with extremes just to prove a point while a little girl is buried, others die, and a public servant clings for her life. So to the following Americans listed below, we say, please pause this, please stop shouting your message and posting your thoughts in the interest of “news.” Unless you have actual facts about this tragedy, we ask you to pause for now. This story is not about you and it never will be. The issues that trouble this story (political extremism, immigration, mental illness, isolation, freedom of speech, violence, guns) will still be with us. Let’s pause and mourn. Dedicate yourselves to that and not comments like these:

Keith Olbermann

Rush Limbaugh

Let’s say that the dead individual happened to be a Democrat Judge, and the wounded individual is a Republican Member of Congress. Who do you think the media would be focused on in that incident?  It’s a rhetorical question, but we have the answer to it.

Glenn Beck

I have so desperately this weekend looked for a leader, looked for someone with common sense, looked for someone who would tell the truth. Instead I find a sheriff who has no facts and blames it on talk radio. Instead I find, I believe it was Time magazine that said, if I may quote: ‘We have none of the facts yet, but who would be surprised if this was a Glenn Beck fan.’ I’ve looked for anyone that would not play politics with it.


Markos Moulitsas


These are just a few of your more influential Americans adding fuel to the fire online. They place politics over tragedy, rhetoric over reason. They rile up their fans, who then go looking for others to criticize, insult and hurt, all in the name of freedom.

Turn the noise off, America. Filter your streams. Share the stories of heroes and victims. We have faith in you.

The culture of the shouting ego is over.

Read Full Post »

On the Internet, local news can become global in minutes, as in the case of the Tucson shootings. From our experience with events like these, searching for local outlets and blogs presents a perspective that the national media fail to cover.

When scanning Time.com the Saturday afternoon of the shootings, we read Nathan Thornburgh’s attempt to put this heinous act in some context and claim that the current climate of hate in the Tucson area was overblown: “Phoenix had not become one of the world’s kidnapping capitals. Crime rates in Arizona had been steady or even fallen in some areas. There had been no beheadings in the desert.”

It struck me as a bit odd as we grappled with the tragic events, especially the death of 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green. The situation in Arizona is not being reported accurately? Violence and hate has not impacted life near the border? This cime was just isolated?

Instead of focusing on national media today, we scoured for local Tucson blogs. Some did talk about the Tucson shootings and as expected, there was anger from both sides. Yes, even in the place where the murders occurred, there is little talk on main blogs about the actual events and more about politics.

From “The Tucson Massacre: After the Cameras Are Gone,” posted by Dr. Cintli on January 9:

To the parachute journalists and all those that have discovered Arizona overnight… don’t forget that. Long after you leave, long after this massacre has ceased to be headline news, we will continue to have to contend with the normalized bigotry and hate against brown people that continually comes out of the state capitol and that is nowadays prevalent throughout the state. Please remember this and look at your own communities to see if all this hate is already festering there. I can almost guarantee you that it is. Bring it to light before the next massacre. Perhaps you will prevent the next massacre.

From “The backlash begins against liberal demagoguing of the Giffords shooting,” posted by Fort Buckley on January 10:

Unfortunately for the demagoguing left, conservatives have been screen-capturing and recording everything that has been written and said since Saturday morning’s horror. And, Google never forgets.

Update: Let me also add that I’ve spent a fair amount of time with the Tucson Tea Party. I’ve gone to their rallies. They are fine people, and anyone with a lick of common sense would be proud to have them as allies and friends.

From “Arizona’s enemy: The Collective Consciousness of Hate,” posted by Three Sonorans.com on January 9:

Things are different in Arizona today, and I hope people realize that this struggle has been going on for a while, and the events that took place with Giffords yesterday are part of something much bigger.

It is not enough to ignore the right-wing hate speech. It is not enough to turn off [local radio host] Jon Justice or Fox News.

They need to be off the air so that the more gullible in our society do not take their message of hate to the next level. This is the only way to prevent future catastrophes.

From, “With a climate of hate and easy access to guns for crazy people who else is going to die in Arizona?” from posted by The View from Baja Arizona on January 10:

Folks have got to take responsibility for the kind of toxic society we’ve created. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer was slated to give her ‘State of the State’ speech to the legislature on Monday January 10th.

I doubt she will really give a true picture of the state of the state of Arizona or the nation right now. From top to bottom we have become a sick society filled with hatred and armed crazies.

Yet, of all the blogs we read, this one still said it best to us.

From “Holding Gabby Giffords in our hearts,” posted by TusconMama.com on January 8:

and today feels like a nightmare.

Read Full Post »

On Twitter, we are all consumers, digesters, and creators of content. For those accounts who have been here for a while, it is common to use Twitter as a source of information and news. The site is known for its real-time, instant updating that promises to keep Twitter streams informed about events.

But when a story such as the Tucson shootings occurs, Twitter can be its own worst enemy, an information overload of inaccuracies, heated opinions, catcalling, personal opinions, and personal attacks. Debate in the public stream could create incorrect information. It could lead to more hate that goes against the desire to be civil and respectful. Twitter, although quick, compact, and scannable, is not the definitive informative source of news or informed, rational opinion. However, profiles can work hard to change that perception, and while this frenzy of tweets and links and opinions continues, we might all benefit from pausing about this tragedy and learning how best you can use Twitter to control the barrage of #Giffords tweets unrelated to the actual story and investigation.

Here are some suggestions that we think could help refine how you get news of this tragedy with Twitter:

  • Post facts about the story. Set up a good example that other profiles can model. One thing I like to do is listen to press conferences and try to tweet out what the principals are saying. This type of tweetcasting gives my stream information that is targeted, focused, attributable, and accurate. Add a hashtag to the tweet and there is a better chance that is enhances the public stream in a good way.

  • Confirm the link sources and information before sharing news links. For example, NPR erroneously reported that Giffords had died yesterday afternoon and put it on the web. The Twitter stream was quick to RT it. It was an error and even though NPR is a responsible outlet, other outlets didn’t report it. When sharing news, it’s best to check to make sure other outlets confirm the information.
  • Use Twitter lists to identify accurate coverage. For this story, we created a list of local Arizona media outlets, since they were the first to respond and have done an incredible and responsible job. Their tweets are immediate as well. We also like to use TweetChat when we want to see a flowing stream since it allows you to tweet without adding the hashtag every time.

  • If you are going to comment, be respectful. Yes, who didn’t know about the Sarah Palin target hair map yesterday? It was all over Twitter, and people were passionate. Now, we respect freedom of speech, but personal attacks on Twitter between people is just wrong and also distracts people from the core issues of the story. This is not about Sarah Palin, unless the investigation proves that there was a direct correlation between the map and the suspect’s motive to commit this heinous act. If we are going to have a discussion about angry rhetoric and its relationship to political violence, then let’s have it, but at least let’s not attack people on Twitter. It adds to the frenzy and hype and quite frankly it does nothing to the debate, in our opinion.  Yesterday when we started tweeting about the press conference, a few profiles called us an “idiot” and said we were adding to the “hate,” that we were part of the Twitter conspiracy to discredit Palin. We don’t think so. We are using social media to inform both ourselves and others in our stream. Relax, Twitter, take a breath and get the whole story. The whole issue of political civility needs to be practiced everywhere, even on social media.

We will be following up with more posts about how social media is playing a role in this tragedy. In the meantime, we pray for the victims who died and the people who are still recovering. Stay civil, everyone.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: