The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

December 17, 2012

When will the senseless acts stop?


Monday, December 17, 2012 — The scenes from Friday’s school shooting in Connecticut do not correspond well with the holiday we are in the middle of celebrating.

This time of comfort and joy will now always be a time of pain and sorrow for the families of more than 20 elementary school children who were gunned down in the massacre.

There can be no adequate words written or spoken when thinking of those families who will not find those small, smiling faces on Christmas morning to open the presents that are probably already tucked away from plain sight.

In a close way, they are not our children. But, they are in a national sense.

Anytime something like this happens, it is impossible for Americans not to grieve and mourn as if those lost were their own.

This is not to ignore the tragic mall shooting in Oregon or the theatre shooting in Colorado.

Those are just as senseless and tragic as what occurred Friday and the collective grief is just as strong in those cases.

But, these were children.

Innocents who had barely begun to understand life and, with some mercy, were not yet aware of the perils that exist in the real world.

In a real sense, it was the unknown that took their promise from us.

There is no explanation for what happened. There can not be one that comes from any reason.

It is still unknown why a 20-year-old would walk into an elementary school and take the lives of so many children.

So it is with humanity.

We are a race of humans who all have good and bad sides.

Fortunately, the great majority of us understand the need to harness the bad and project the good.

The fact is and always has been there are bad people who do awful, evil and unspeakable things.

How do we protect ourselves and our children?

That’s a difficult answer to develop for a determined madman can use almost anything from a speeding car to an exploding gas can to wreak havoc and pain.

It is even more difficult to answer because we live in a society based on freedom and with that comes a cost.

We could outfit our schools as if they are prison camps with barbed wire and armed guards.

Some might suggest we supply a weapon for each teacher.

Both of those suggestions, extreme for sure, dilutes the freedom we treasure so much.

Stanly County is the type of place where we pretty much know each other. We understand the meaning of the words “neighbor” and “friend.”

We also understand the meaning of the word “responsibility” that comes with the freedoms we have.

Yes, there has been and is evil here. But, we have never been touched with it by such a degree.

We do not have the best answer to prevent such a thing from happening here.

Perhaps no one does.

The best idea now, especially in this season, is to say a prayer.

Say one for all of those who have suffered.

It might be a good idea to say that prayer while hugging your children and give thanks they are well and unhurt.