Christina Green was born September 11, 2001, a day she believed was a holiday. She died Saturday, January 8, 2011, in Tucson, Arizona, another national day of tragedy riddled with violence. One bullet to the chest, delivered by a deranged 22-year-old nutjob, for reasons to be analyzed for years and decades to come.
Like too many kids these days, Christina was an innocent child sent to heaven without the opportunity to live a full life, without an opportunity to give her parents one final hug, without a chance to fulfill any of her dreams. All tragedies like these are devastating, but it always hits me extra hard when a tragedy involves a child. If you're like me, you sat glued to your television this weekend, watching the Tucson story as it unfolded.
I've grown so cynical about news organizations that it came as no surprise that several of them incorrectly reported early on that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords had died. Then, a picture of 9-year-old Christina appeared on the screen, and my heart sank. "That could have been my kid," I thought.
An outing we were all looking forward to could have resulted in family devastation. I could not help thinking of her parents, grandparents, and family at that moment. Christina's brave mom, on the day her little girl was murdered, was interviewed by Gretchen Carlson on Fox. Carlson, a parent herself, was understandably struggling to keep it together during the interview, pausing, trying to regain her composure. She couldn't. Who could? How many times have we allowed our sons or daughters to innocently go over to a neighbor's house to go to the mall, the movies, or a grocery store?
You get lulled into a sense of safety because things seem OK for so long. Then Tucson happens and you get whiplashed into the reality that there are sick people everywhere and our children can be taken away from us without our having even a chance to fight for them.
I'm sure some will ask why God would allow something like this to happen. Though it's not my role to question our maker, I look at it and ask if some good can come of it. Can this event stimulate someone to do something of value in little Christina's honor?
All the events of the weekend got me thinking about how radio can play more of a role in helping local kids. Every community has children in need of something. Some may need a new wheelchair or other device not covered by insurance, or need money for an operation. Others need clothes or enough food to get them through the next week. Some kids will never be able to afford a bicycle unless we get involved.
These types of things have been radio's strength for the longest time. Sure, we all tend to do them at Christmas and Thanksgiving. But what if we picked and attacked a cause as an industry? We have the power to move mountains, and with our ability to engage listeners could eradicate one giant social problem in our communities.
People -- your listeners -- want to help.
Sometimes they just need a leader they can follow. Today is as good a day as any for every radio station in America to examine whether they are doing enough for their community.
It may not seem like a big deal to help one child. However, if 200 or 300 or 400 radio stations help one kid a month for a year, that's between 2,400 and 5,000 kids a year. That could change history.
Let's not let this tragedy pass without looking inward to see what more we can do with our radio stations. Not because it's good for business, but because it's the right thing to do.