My heart is breaking. All of our hearts are breaking. This happens too often, too randomly, too close to home in so many ways.
Innocent children, teachers, holiday shoppers, moviegoers ... people like you and me, people like those you love. Now is not the time to point fingers and hide behind political rhetoric and inflammatory comments.
Now is the time to come together as a community, as a state, as a nation to actually do something. I wish I knew what that "something" was -- it is easier to just say that the government should fix gun laws.
Of course it should. Hunters and those owning guns for self-defense have no need for semiautomatic weapons. Responsible gun owners agree that safety locks should be placed on weapons. But this attitude that "government" should fix it all is not enough.
We need to determine what our own responsibility is. What can we do? What steps can we take to meet the needs of the mentally ill in our community?
What steps can we take to make connections with those who feel disconnected or alone?
What can we -- as individuals, families, classrooms, religious or service groups -- truly do to make our communities more connected, and therefore more safe?
I don't have the answers, but I do have a desire to help find them. Can we open up a dialogue about this, crossing political lines and economic circumstances?
Can we make our community a better, safer place, and work to spread peace and understanding in a country that is so desperately in need of connections? I'd like to believe we can. Are you with me?
Staci Simmelink Johnson