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Remembering What’s Important

The madness continued in America last week as we, as a nation, shook our heads and shed a collective tear for the victims in Newtown, Connecticut. Despite what the talking heads on the news want to assume, nobody knows what was going through the killer’s head prior to the bullet that ended his life, and we never will.
Personally, I don’t care what his motivations and reasons were. Did his mom, who he also killed, spank him too much or deny him additional television time? Again, I don’t care and to spend any additional time discussing it is pointless.
What is important is the healing that needs to happen now. Not just with the families in Newtown, but with any family that has young children who have been exposed to the onslaught of the media’s salacious coverage of the tragedy.
In their efforts to keep us informed, they always lose sight of the damage that they are doing to their youngest viewers. They may want to console themselves by thinking that all the young ones out there are being insulated from the tidal wave of descriptions their words paint, but they are not. Those mental pictures are the things that children’s nightmares are made of.
As a parent, I cannot begin to imagine the level of grief and pain that the parents of the victims are going through. I can only look at my grown children and be thankful that my wife and I were there for them as much as we could be. As a parent that is all you can do. You know that you can’t be there every second of every day. You can only wish you were.
As I listened to the President speak at the memorial service for the victims he echoed that very sentiment. He also said he wants to find a way, as do we all, to make these senseless killings stop. It is a tall order and to be honest, one that I don’t see a solution to. Evil will always be with us, as will good. The only thing that we can hope for is that the scales of humanity stay tilted in the direction of good.
The two parts of the equation are guns and mental health, both of which are too prickly of pears for most people to swallow. While stricter gun control might be part of the solution, the second amendment will never go away and mental illness can only be monitored so far. If there is a cure for what is ailing us as a nation it is going to be a tough one to find.
There is one thing that a tragedy like this does make clear and that is how petty some of the things we choose to complain about seem. It puts into perspective what is truly important, especially during this time of year.
It is not about who won or lost an election, the person in front of you that cuts you off on the freeway on the way home or the guy ahead of you who grabs the last Xbox off the shelf at Walmart. It’s about the people in your life. The ones you love and who love you. Relish every moment that they are with you because nothing lasts forever.
Make sure that they know how happy you are that they are part of your world. Life is hard enough without looking back later and wishing you had.
Once that door is closed there is no opening it again.
Happy Holidays and may we all have a better New Year.
Bill Dunn has been a published opinion columnist for 15 years. Any comments can be sent to either our exalted editor at or to Bill directly at You can also find Bill on Facebook at :

By Bill Dunn

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