The Journey Toward Forgiveness

The Associated Press ran an inspiring story earlier this week about the survivors of the mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona, last January that severely injured Representative Gabrielle Giffords as well as 12 others and killed six. The article describes the survivors’ ongoing journeys of physical and emotional healing while highlighting their tremendous strength and ability to move past their anger together.

Several of the victims noted that they are trying to focus on the positive by getting more involved in the community. Some speak to students about the power of forgiveness.  Others formed a program that helps with various school projects and an organization that raises awareness about mental illness and bullying in schools. The Tucson shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, 23, has bipolar disorder and showed signs of being disturbed for at least two years before the shooting.

These victims’ stories are a testament to the potential and power of forgiveness. Pam Simon, a staffer for Representative Gabrielle Giffords and a victim who survived gunshots to her chest and wrist, said she was still in the hospital when she decided to forgive Loughner. She said she only now feels “profound sadness” that he didn’t get treatment for his bipolar disorder before it was too late. “It’s absolutely pointless to weigh myself down with anger or hatred toward this young man,” she said.

Even in the face of great personal pain and suffering, these individuals are even more determined to improve their communities and the lives of those around them. TADP gives thanks for their witness.

Photo by Gina Ferazzi, Los Angeles Times

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