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What can we possibly do now?

December 16, 2012
By CRAIG HOWELL , Weirton Daily Times

Many of us have been trying to search for words to describe our feelings since the massacre at a school in Newtown, Connecticut Friday.

We've tried to express our thoughts upon hearing the news of the death of 20 young children and several adults.

We've tried to express our emotions each time a little bit of news came out about the person who committed this injustice and every bit of video and image of the aftermath.

There is going to be a lot said in the coming days. There already has been.

Comments have been thrown out there about gun control and whether more strict regulations could have prevented the tragedy.

Would increased security have prevented this 20-year-old kid from getting into the school?

I've also seen comments about how if more religion was included in school curricula, then maybe such evil actions would not take place as we would all have more exposure to the lessons of God.

I don't have an answer. I don't know that any of us out there really do.

There has been so much tragedy in recent years. I don't know if it's just a sign of the times or if it can even be reversed.

Do we cut back on the types of guns available to civilians? We do that, we begin an argument over the Second Amendment.

Do we start encouraging prayer in public school or include a religion class? Then we have a separation of church and state debate on our hands.

Do we ramp up security at schools nationwide? Do we put armed guards into the schools, install bullet-resistant glass in all the windows? If so, where is the money going to come from?

We've seen some of the issues caused by upgraded security at airports following 9/11. Do we want that in our schools, too.

These questions will have to be asked and answered at some point, but I don't think this is the time.

This is a time to focus on the people affected by all of this. It is a time to find ways to help those who lost loved ones. It is a time to help them grieve.

Their losses are devastating and no amount of public debate will help them heal.

We cannot use these moments to point fingers as it will not change what has happened.

This person was, for whatever reason, determined to hurt people. Unfortunately we'll never know if any of these things could have made a difference; if they could have saved any lives.

We also can't let the fear of this event put a halt to the rest of us.

This, unfortunately, easily could have happened anywhere at any time. But we can't let that possibility scare us into being too afraid to do anything.

We can't be afraid to go to the store, or to school, or to a movie theater.

This nation needs to pull together and find strength to move forward.

Changes will come. It is inevitable. Our lives will be different for quite a while and may continue to be different as the years unfold.

There may be more incidents like this, or there may never be one again. We can try and prepare as much as possible, but we also cannot allow that preparation to stop us from living.

Personally, I prefer to hope for the better things in this world. We see all the bad, but we can't forget there is still good.

We can't forget about those who regularly are out there trying to help others. We can't forget about those who work each day to make sure these types of incidents don't happen. We can't forget about the men and women who volunteer their time to brighten the lives of others.

We may never have the answers we seek. We may never find a solution. And, if we did, what is to keep someone from coming up with another problem?

For now, we have to focus on trying to heal. Focus on the good that does still exist in this world and hope there is still a way to create a better future.

So, today as you go around doing whatever else you had planned, make some time to reach out to those you love.

Talk to them, spend time with them, discuss some of the bad if you choose. But also remember to look for the good. Find something you can do to make this world better and encourage others to do the same.

It might be something small at this point, but if each of us tries to do some good, it could spread throughout the rest of the world.

Evil will always be there, but as long as there are good people in the world, there is still hope.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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