For me, it doesn't get much more devastating than this. A U.S. district judge who came by to say hello to his friend and fellow politician. A child who, having just been voted to student council, stood in line to meet the public figure she idolized. A beloved congresswoman reaching out to her community to answer heartfelt questions and build on common ground. Twenty people blown to pieces, six fatally, by a mentally unstable man with a semi-automatic rifle.
What happened this past Saturday felt like the collective consciousness of this nation acting out in a moment of madness. Ironically, a child born on a day of national terror died on a day of terror. We have become a nation of very mad men and equally angry women. We are losing it for sure each time we interact with our flat-screens and P.D.A's, punctuated as they are with violence and cyber bullies.
The word "hate" has become part of our daily vernacular. We all hate something. Somebody. We want someone else to own it, to be the one to blame. But the problem belongs to all of us.
I'll be the first to admit that my first reaction was to blame, to assume. To believe the worst of why this individual was motivated to leave his home and kill. But no matter how I look at this I have had to ask, Where did we fail? Besides the obvious, we failed to listen to an intuitive voice that said this guy was real trouble.
For one thing, more than one person knew this 22-year-old to be unstable. His community college professor, Ben McGahee, told an ABC News reporter that "at least a half dozen" students came to him to express concern over their strange classmate, stating that they feared for their safety. A fellow attendee of Pima Community College, where the young man enrolled in logic classes and was expelled for possessing drug paraphernalia, told the Arizona Daily that the man was "obviously disturbed" and that he "disrupted class frequently with his nonsensical outbursts." Before this troubled individual arrived at a public event, dozens of people -- too many people, even those in law enforcement -- knew he was a danger. What would it have taken to stop him and get him help before that tragic day?
What's more, I have to ask what was happening in that parking lot before the gunfire started? Were people on their iPhones and Blackberries connecting with something, anything, rather than the line they stood in as an odd-looking man pushed forward and was told to go to the back of the line. I wasn't there at the Tucson Safeway that afternoon but I have to wonder: Did nobody who saw this man at the event hear a voice in his or her head that whispered -- maybe even shouted -- "Something is wrong here? This guy isn't right He scares me. HELP!"
We are all born with the gift of intuition, that pure little voice inside our hearts that tells us what is not always spoken aloud. When we listen to it, it tells us, Don't leave your handbag on that chair. Don't walk down that dark street. Keep a close eye on your child. Something about that person concerns me.
Medical professionals, law enforcers and children often remain in tune with their intuition. It's no coincidence that Daniel Hernandez, the Giffords aide who ran towards the gunfire to treat the congresswoman's wounds, had studied nursing. His instincts to treat and heal led him to where he was needed the most.
Intuitive guidance can keep us safe. But to hear that little voice we need to be present, to be aware of where we are, who's around us, and how we can contribute to and lift up the collective. We need to become aware of the light and the dark and respond to it accordingly.
Our intuition can help us develop a more peaceful world. By being present and fully awake to the moment we can listen to that small voice that emanates from our heart. It's a voice that says, Speak with kindness. Act with courage. Do what's right.
At the same time that same small voice will also bellow loudly from inside us, warning us that we are in danger. It's a gut reaction, felt in the guts. And we must all have real guts and real courage to act on it.
Mostly, by being completely present with one another -- whether we are our at a dinner or in a crowd, even if that means putting down the iPhone and learning to connect with others in a human way again -- we can make better decisions about how we interact with everyone we meet and in every situation. We can more carefully choose to act and speak from a position of love, rather than one of fear or hate. And we can learn to hear that little voice -- and even the larger scary one -- every time it speaks to us.
After the tragedy of this past Saturday, I have one hope for America: To listen to that voice, the voice of intuition. Every small and large voice inside of us is telling us that freedom is responsibility. That together we fall and together we rise. Let us begin today by making more responsible choices and asking ourselves how we can make our country a more peaceful, tolerant and loving place. Let's reflect and find that answer together.
What was the last thing your inner voice told you? How did it change your life? I will be on my Facebook page chatting with my friends about this. (Discuss with me now at www.facebook.com/cristinacarlino.)
Cristina Carlino is a poet, social entrepreneur, and the founder and creator of philosophy skincare, one of the most beloved brands in cosmetic history. Carlino is currently working on Project Miracle, a grassroots social network connecting miracle-makers to the miraculous. Be an angel and make a miracle. To learn more, join Cristina at Facebook.com/CristinaCarlino