What, exactly, did the Tucson shootings have to do with September 11?

Rochelle Gurstein in The New Republic:

Flag_0 Among the many thoughts I've had about the shooting of those unfortunate people who went to a supermarket on a Saturday morning to meet with their congresswoman, I've been stuck by how hard people have tried to create meaning out of the mayhem. For some observers, things as seemingly insignificant as a birth date—in this case, the birth date of a nine-year-old girl—feel heavy with significance, if only we knew how to interpret them. I, for one, was moved, though I did not know exactly why, when President Obama, in his Tucson memorial speech, solemnly reminded us, that “Christina was given to us on September 11, 2001.” What followed was an invocation of hope, but I couldn't help wondering why the president had chosen the prophetically resonant phrase, a child is given to us. Did he believe that this particular girl was given to us (by God?) as a compensation for all those who were lost on that miserable day? Was he somehow intimating that the date of her birth had destined her to a particular saving future? All the machinery for providential interpretation was in place, but to no avail. The most that President Obama could do was to observe—and it was widely remarked in the media—that for a nine-year-old child, Christina was unusually civic-minded and had recently been elected to her student council. Although he did not draw any connection between her birth date and her destiny, her mother did explicitly though in a more quotidian manner when she told news organizations that “she was very interested in politics since she was a little girl. I think that being born on 9/11 had a lot to do with that.”

More here.

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