In the days after the Jan. 8 tragedy, discussions ensued about political civility and mental health awareness, as people struggled to find an explanation for the shooting. But how have those efforts held up during the course of a year?
Politically, there are signs things may be better, at least locally, even as we heard contentious debates over the debt ceiling, the federal budget and payroll taxes. At least that’s how Ron Barber, district director for U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, sees it. He and his family started an organization called the Fund for Civility, Respect and Understanding.
"I think that whether or not Congress is acting … local people believe we can do better in the way we talk about these issues," Barber says.
Also discussed after the shooting was improved resources for mental health services and regional awareness of symptoms of mental illness. That’s an area that’s improved this year, says Dona Rivera-Gulko, vice president of CODAC Behavioral Health Services in Tucson.
She cites a new mental health first aid training program that started last year; 600 people went through the program in the months after the shooting.
While the community won't forget the shooting, many are moving from the grief to a focus on community stewardship, says Mary Specio-Boyer, community health director at COPE Community Services.