Guest Spot: Tea partyers call for prayer, not blame, after Arizona shootings

The Suffolk County 9-12 Project joins all citizens in condemning the horrific attack, allegedly committed by Jared Loughner, in Tucson, Ariz., in which six innocent victims were killed and 19 were wounded, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, at a constituent event on Saturday.

Suffolk County 9-12 Project is a tea party organization that believes in achieving our goals through peaceful means and engaging the citizenry in the political process. We by no means condone acts of violence in any way, shape or form. We are committed to the rule of law, upholding the Constitution and promoting limited government.

We mourn the loss of life and those who were wounded in this senseless tragedy and act of violence. Our thoughts and heartfelt prayers go out to Ms. Giffords, as well as to the massacre victims listed below:

Gabriel Zimmerman, 30, was Ms. Giffords’ director of community outreach. Dorwan Stoddard, 76, went to the event with his wife, Mavanell, who was also wounded. In his final act of courage and love for his wife, he threw his body down over hers, taking the gunshots that would mortally wound him. They were high school sweethearts. A memorial service was held for him Tuesday.

U.S. District Court Judge John M. Roll, 63, had attended Mass Saturday morning before stopping by the event. Phyllis Schneck, 79, a Tucson retiree from New Jersey, got a robo call to attend the event. Dorothy Morris, 76, also a Tucson retiree, recently moved from Reno, Nev. Christina Taylor-Green, 9, who was born on Sept. 11, 2001, was with family friend Susan Hileman. Christina was attending the event because she was interested in politics and meeting Ms. Giffords.

It is important to note that there were several heroes who arose in this horrific slaughter. Joe Zamudio and Dan Badger, a retired U.S. Army colonel, tackled and knocked down the 22-year-old suspect. They held him and pinned him down until police arrived, while another bystander pushed his knee onto Mr. Loughner’s neck. Prior to that, Patricia Maisch, who authorities have praised for her amazing quick thinking, grabbed the 31-shot clip from Mr. Loughner’s hand as he reached for it from his pocket to reload.

It was the incredible heroism of Ms. Maisch, combined with the efforts of Mr. Badger, Mr. Zamudio and others, that saved additional lives. They acted while giving no thought to their own lives.

We call on our elected officials to refrain from using a senseless tragedy as a platform to propagate their own political agenda. In a time of crisis and mourning, certain leaders have been assigning blame to specific groups and individuals in a shameless and reprehensible attempt to gain stature for their position. We, at the Suffolk County 9-12 Project reject that kind of political posturing. It is apparent from all accountings that this was a deeply disturbed individual who, despite numerous attempts by school officials and authorities, was on a downward spiral with apparently little or no direction from his parents, with whom he lived. The media’s attempt to broad brush and demonize tea party and conservative groups as well as individuals only illustrates their lack of respect, honesty and integrity for the American people and, more important, those who lost their lives and the wounded.

We urge all tea party patriots and citizens to pray for the victims and their families during this difficult time.

Mr. and Mrs. Meyer are Baiting Hollow residents and cofounders of the Suffolk County 9-12 group.