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I just watched a piece on the news on the AR-15, the type of gun used to kill children and adults in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. My heart breaks for the children, the adults, their parents, siblings, friends, and of course us as a society.  What a tragic event in American history! What a devastating event in the lives of individual families. No words can adequately express the depths of this horror and tragedy.

It is normal and natural to want immediately to take away all things that can hurt people in the wake of this indescribable horror and pain- guns, knives, in fact any other object that can be used to hurt others. It is normal and natural for us to want to curl up with our loved ones in our homes and stay isolated, protected, away from others as well.

But we can’t. We shouldn’t. For the weapons themselves are not the problem. The people who abuse them to hurt others are.  Just as butcher knives alone don’t kill people, guns don’t kill either. Crazy people use whatever they use – the problem is the crazy people, not what they choose to abuse to hurt others.

And we can’t run away from evil. We must confront it in courage.

The mass shooting that happened in a school in Connecticut last week is horrific and screams in a way nothing else can that society has failed. A family has failed. Society has failed families. Families have failed society. The way to prevent other shootings is to find ways these failings occur on a micro level and somehow, some way, prevent them from happening again.

I suspect a lot of the problem is abandonment of children. In many instances, no one is at home to raise them well anymore. Volatile, susceptible (by genes or environment) people turn to evil in the wake of no guidance, no help, no notice…

In my heart of hearts I feel that in the event of Sandy Hook we are facing the horrible result of the demise of the American family. Years of putting material objects before people creates chaos and insecurity in the hearts of children, who grow up and in some cases, when weak, or when decidedly choose one way over another, turn evil.

My heart aches for all, but  especially for the lost children in this particular tragedy-their lost futures, their lost enjoyment of life, their lost contributions to the world, their physical existence on earth. They cannot be replaced. The world will not be the same without them. We all suffer. And grieve.

And as I grieve for each one of them individually, whom I do not know, yet as a mother universally I innately know, I ponder the cause. I look for a solution. I have no answers. Who does? I can only offer thoughts, and these I offer here, sincerely.

Legislation is not the answer. Limiting guns will merely take guns away from law abiding people. Criminals have always been able to obtain weapons. We cannot and should not trample on Second Amendment rights in a well-intentioned yet misguided attempt to prevent Sandy Hooks from happening again. No, the answer is much easier and yet much harder than that. The answer to the problem of violence and evil is much slower than a mere law being passed or executive order being imposed. The answer is that every individual life must be nurtured and valued, guided and protected. We must make society so full of love that no one thinks to resort to the unthinkable. Only in this way will no innocent lives be lost again.

Mothers, turn your hearts home. Be there for your families in kindness and patience, softness, beauty, truth and as gentle leaders of morality.  This will change society. Fathers, be there for your children, in your strength and courage and goodness. Set the example. Lead well. Families, reach out together to those whom you meet who are lacking in love, the basic component of life and of civilized society. Take time to ask a simple question,  listen in understanding. Offer help. Love.  Open eyes and and open heart will lead you to know what needs to be done.  Invite a lonely child to join you some afternoon. Support a single mother you see struggling to make ends meet. Hold accountable people who try to weaken the family unit. Support –even fight for– marriage, because the safest place for a child is in a loving, supportive family with both mom and dad present.  Only by doing these simple yet profound things can we prevent other murders like those at Sandy Hook, and Virginia Tech and Colorado movie theater, and frankly like those imposed by the likes of Saddam Hussein and Joseph Stalin and Adolph Hitler.

We must put our children’s and spouses’ needs first. We must reach out to others we see who lack love. It’s a slow, difficult process to do this unselfishly, daily, but in the end, it is what will matter most.

The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.

– Confucius

Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.

-Mother Teresa

Love begins by taking care of the closest ones – the ones at home.

-Mother Teresa

The greatest destroyer of peace is abortion because if a mother can kill her own child, what is left for me to kill you and you to kill me? There is nothing in between.

– Mother Teresa

Nothing can bring a real sense of security into the home except true love. -Billy Graham