The following post will appear in the Farmerville Louisiana Gazette next week.

This week has been one horrendous time for our culture, our nation, our world. A lone gunman walked into a classroom in suburban Connecticut and systematically killed twenty children and six adult teachers and school administrators. This the killer did after killing his own mother and before taking his own life. There is a lot of conjecture at this time and surely some answers to the many questions will never be known. Still this horrific act has displayed the worst in man and the best in man.
It is just a matter of time before we begin to hear that we must have gun control. Many would say that assault rifles are the basis for all our ills and they must be removed from the general public. While these rifles have a main purpose in society and that purpose is to kill on the battlefield, there are those that enjoy collecting such a weapon and many people spend hours on the rifle ranges shooting the weapons. If we do eliminate assault weapons will that be enough. Some 22 rifles can carry as much as one hundred rounds wile a high caliber hunting rifle has deadly accuracy at great distance. The first school killing I remember was the Texas Tower sniper at the University of Texas in the mid 1960s. Armed with a high caliber rifle he methodically shot and killed students across the campus. The elimination of weapons in America will not stop the attacks on our campuses. It is a factor of the hands that the guns are in and not the type of gun in the deranged shooters hands. If a person wants a gun a person can get it. New York has the toughest gun law in America. New York also has the largest gun black market in America.
Many are going to say that we need to do more at the schools to protect the children. The Connecticut slaughter makes one wonder what the level of protection needs to be. That school appeared to be an example of test book school security. School lock down drills, school security systems in affect and a well trained staff was not enough to stop the genocide but it did help to lessen the carnage. As bad as the killings were, it is hard to imagine how bad it would have been if the safety procedures had not been in effect. There will be much discussion about what new levels of security will be adequate and at what cost to many cash starved school districts.
Banning assault weapons will have no more affect on mass murder than banning the sale of fertilizer will prevent another Oklahoma City explosion or banning air travel will stop deranged people from turning aircraft into missiles. Turning our schools into armed fortifications will deter but not stop someone intent on mass destruction. Instead we need to look inward and see what in society has gone so wrong that life becomes so unimportant to many members of society. At the same time revel in the understanding that the vast majority of America still believes in the value systems that built our great nation.
What the shooting disclosed was the humanity that manifests itself within our country. One teacher sacrificed her own life to protect her class. The immediate assignment of State Police to each family to protect their privacy and assist in any way possible displays a professionalism that manifests itself within the American society. A President wiping tears from his eyes displayed not a national political figure but a human that was shaken by the brutal murder of innocent children. The most poignant speech came from a father that had lost his daughter. He not only spoke of his child and remembering the families of the other lost children but he also spoke of the pain that is being felt by the family of the shooter and asked that they also be thought of. What a genuine act of compassion, the same compassion that shaped this country.
For you that are reading this pre-December 21st I hope you are counting down the end of the world with a tongue in cheek mentality and enjoy the time leading up to mid-night of December 20th. For you reading this after the 21st, then you realize that the world didn’t end, otherwise you would not be reading this. Enjoy the events leading up to”2012” and instead of seeing this as the end of the world I plan to use this as a period of rebirth and rededication to everything that is important in life. I had hoped to be at Chitchen Itza, Mexico to not witness the end of the world but to be at the largest party in the world. Unfortunately I will quietly watch the evening past at my camp on Middlefork just I did when New Years of 2000 was to doom the computer systems around the world. Happy December 21st to all the dooms dayers and to everyone, Merry Christmas.

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