How Can We Stand Against Such Darkness?


The incomprehensible events that played out last week in Sandy Hook Elementary School have left a nation in horrified mourning.


Dawn Hochsprung


Mary Sherlach


Victoria Soto

Who among us has not pulled our precious children closer, wondered how we can ever explain to them the inexplicable. How can we ever protect them from such evil? How we can ever bear to let them out of our sight again?

For what shield have we to cling to and hold aloft, when such a person can live quietly among us, then explode with such insane and remorseless rage? What can we do to protect those we love — or even our belief in love — in a world that can spawn such evil?

We will not even speak the name of the monster, lest it was his purpose to make us think of him, remember him, fear him in the darkness he has left.

We would rather speak the name of Principal Dawn Hochsprung who devoted her life to children and died lunging at the gunman in a futile effort to protect them.

We would rather recall the courage of Victoria Soto who heard the shots and hid her first-graders in a closet, then died trying to protect them from the crazed gunman.

We would rather take comfort from thinking of school psychologist Mary Sherlach who died running toward the gunman, flinging herself at him to protect those children.

The only comfort in the face of the mindless enormity of this evil lies in learning about the love and hope and joy that emerges in the stories of the victims — the bright, beautiful, innocent, buoyant children, the loving families, the dedicated teachers.

We will never understand the twisted mind of the monster — what sick rage, what terrible resentment, what ravening madness drove him to this senseless act. Seeing the police in the hallway, he lunged into one last classroom and sprayed murder into one last cluster of terrified children. Then he killed himself, the only action of his that made any sense at all.

Yet we yearn to understand, so that we may protect ourselves — so that we may barter with madness, so that we may heed the warning signs. But we will never understand, for what sense can love ever make of madness?

We can wonder at the mother who would supply such a one with such a lethal arsenal. We can wonder at the refusal of politicians to ban the sale of assault rifles, brutally lethal ammunition and high-capacity magazines. We can wonder at the refusal to fund vital mental health programs which have been stripped from budgets leaving a tragic dearth of programs. But we cannot know whether any of those things could have averted this particular tragedy, this awful killing.

We come back finally to Hochsprung and Sherlach and Soto. We come back finally to the parents in the midst of their inconsolable grief who thanked the police and paramedics and teachers. We come back to Olivia Rose Engle who made silly faces and Josephine Gay who loved the color purple and Jessie Lewis who was learning to ride, and Anna Marquez-Green whose mother said “Anna has beat us all to paradise,” and James Mattioli who loved the whole idea of a googolplex, and Emilie Parker quick to try any new thing — except food, and Jack Pinto who idolized NY Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, and Jessica Rekos who adored everything about horses, and teacher Lauren Gabrielle Rousseau who yearned to be a teacher all her life and said her first year at Sandy Hook was the best year of her life.

These names we will remember.

This love we will recall.

For their courage must give us hope.

Else how can we stand against such darkness?


Dan Haapala 4 years, 1 month ago

As hard and as Heart wrenching as it is to accept this story of crazed rage, the wrong question of the cause continues to emerge from the headlines. Ban the instrument, not the weilder of destruction. In the 1800s, in England, Jack the Ripper made the headlines with knife. They never caught him and knives were not banned. In this country there are laws dealing with gun ownership and there are law breakers who have guns. Who do you think will be the first to surrender their weapons to the respected authority? Go back just 4 years to the national headlines of mass murder by firearm and tell me the mental state of the executioner. Then who can tell me the specific weapon used and how it was attained. 100 years ago, when we found mentally unstable individuals walking among us, unable to take care of themselves and devoid of caring about others around them.....we put them in institutions where they could be cared for and where they couldn't harm anyone. Some liberal jackass said that wasn't right that the insane had rights and that they should be allowed to live among us and get government help to exist. Back to the previous question....... Saws don't cut wood short, hammers nails don't fail the connected pieces of wood, Pencils and Pens don't misspell words, and here's another....Food doesn't make you fat and guns don't make you a killer. THE PROBLEM IN AMERICA IS SIMPLY HUMAN BEHAVIOUR. Let me alone to do what I want when I want and give me what I need to do it.

Did you get that.....Immaturity and lack of propriety (morals) is our problem and the sooner we fix that....The sooner we end tragedies like that in


Ted Paulk 4 years, 1 month ago

Sorry Dan, BUT GUNS DID MAKE THIS GUY A KILLER. We need to stop the proliferation of weapons of child destruction; aka assault weapons and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.


ALLAN SIMS 4 years, 1 month ago

Yeah, those guns are malicious things aren’t they? They make some walk into stores and, against their will, those guns make the holder point it at the attendant and rob him. They drive people insane with their mental gymnastics, overriding natural instincts to be kind and peaceful, loving all.

You know, axes are that way too. If I’m not mistaken, didn’t I hear about a mass murder of 22 children in China, on that same day, with an axe? Maybe banning axes would be good? It’s strange that no one has demanded the registration, of axes, and banning those over, say, 1 pound in weight.

So what if a few tens of thousands want to use their axes for legitimate things? I know millions of Americans who use and enjoy the use of their gun parts. An axe is just as malicious as those devious guns, too.

I had one take a hunk out of my shin one time. And, all I wanted to do was cut some wood. So, that thing just, on its own, bit me. I was some sore at it. It not only bit me, but it sent me into a berserk frenzy, and when I came to myself, I had to go get a new axe handle. I think the axe was some pleased with that.

If we can protect several million people from being induced to uncontrollable actions by limiting their gun parts, we should be able to protect a few tens of thousands from the malicious influence of axes. Maybe Hussein will tackle that, after he strips us of our gun parts? He does have our best interest at heart, now doesn’t he. My, what a great president we have.

Isn’t it wonderful that we can bypass the constitution so easily? Why, without our guns, Hussein could just tell congress to go home and nobody could do anything about it. Then, he could make some great laws that would regulate all our lives, and we could then all just sit around and sing Kumbaya.

Of course, you could kiss the idea of any sort of freedom adios. But, then look what those dastardly freedoms do anyway. They drive us to excel, to strive and the end result is that we become despicable free individuals instead of the autochthons designed to serve the whim of the god we are meant to serve in the white house.

I think that the lady who wrote this article didn’t intend for it to be hijacked for the inevitable rock throwing between communists and conservatives. And, we have plenty of time to argue points without doing it before those kids are resting in their graves.


Ted Paulk 4 years, 1 month ago

PS @ Dan, You don't use a chain saw to cut lumber, you don't use a sledge hammer or a jack hammer to drive nails and you don't need an ASSAULT rifle to hunt deer. Mr. Sims, you are a real wind bag. Peace and love from the hippie/Viet Nam vet.


ALLAN SIMS 4 years, 1 month ago

Windbag or not, you get the message. And, I refer you to the last paragraph of what I wrote in that windy statement.


Ted Paulk 4 years, 1 month ago

For once I agree with you...last paragraph part. But you violated your own premise with the rest of your rant.


Ronald Hamric 4 years, 1 month ago

Mr. Paulk, Thought you might find these changes in the State of Arizona of interest, as regards what "can" be used for hunting, not what one "needs" to use for hunting.

Magazine Capacity

The newly passed legislation prohibits the Commission from limiting magazine capacity of firearms. In the past, the Commission had the authority to limit magazine capacity related to the take of wildlife. Please note that the federal regulations regarding magazine capacity for hunting migratory game birds, such as dove or waterfowl, still apply.

The amended law now reads as follows:

17-231. General powers and duties of the commission. The commission shall: Establish hunting, trapping and fishing rules and prescribe the manner and methods that may be used in taking wildlife, but the commission shall not limit or restrict the magazine capacity of any authorized firearm.


Possessing silencers, or devices designed to muffle or minimize the report of a firearm, is no longer a violation of statute, which was previously the case. A new section was added to the law, allowing the use of silencers while hunting. Please note that this section does not limit the Commission’s authority to prescribe the type and caliber of firearm or ammo that may be used for taking wildlife, and includes a definition of “firearm silencer.”

The amended law now reads as follows:

17-251. Possession or use of a firearm silencer or muffler while hunting; definition. The commission shall not adopt or enforce any rule that prohibits the lawful possession or use of a firearm silencer or muffler, including for the taking of wildlife or while hunting. This section does not limit the authority of the commission to prescribe the type and caliber of firearm or ammunition that may be used for taking wildlife. For the purposes of this section, “firearm silencer or muffler” means any device that is designed, made or adapted to muffle the report of a firearm.

So, the law now permits the use of , say an EBR (Evil Black Rifle) with a 30 round magazine equipped with a silencer to hunt big game. Now before you go off, I personally don't know why they would change the current laws as they worked fine. Actually I hunt with a bow more than a rifle. But, like it or not, that is now the law. Sort of like abortion is now the law. Doesn't make much sense to me, but since it is the law, hey , let'm do what they want. It's called Freedom!

Oh! I saw your "bio" that you posted. From a former Marine 1960-64,Thanks for your service.


ALLAN SIMS 4 years ago

Yes, and I felt and still do feel guilty about it.

Perhaps we can make amends in that we can try to help folks like the original writer of this article perceive how we can go on, and can stand against this darkness. I think Mr. Hamric has made a commendable start on that, don’t you think?


Ted Paulk 4 years ago

My apologies to all. This thing got way out of hand on both sides. I'm sure you all are as committed to your ideals as I am to mine. I promise, no more name calling or trying to put folks down because their ideas aren't the same as mine...but really, damn I hate to do this, but do you really believe our President is a commie, pinko, Muslim, alien who is out to destroy America? OK that's All. Merry Christmas to all of you. Ted


Ronald Hamric 4 years ago

Mr. Paulk, I honestly request that you do not withdraw from these debates. Yes, as much as we differ in our ideologies and world views, it is these open discussions, however tense at times, that will keep us working towards solutions to the issues that have created such a divide in this nation. I have no hate for President Obama. Heck, he is probably a very personable person from everything I've seen, but I do accept we have two completely separate and diverse views about the direction this nation needs to be taken in. If we could get past the invectives and heated hyperboly, you and I probably are more in agreement on things than those on which we disagree. Progressive/socialism is not out to destroy America but one simply cannot deny that it wants to fundamentally change America. Remember the slogan "Hope and Change"? Well, in my life's experience, most people are resistant to change. Especially significant change in a short period of time. It is that resistance that I think causes the much of our divisions. It is a conflict between those that wish to make this country a reflection of socialist Europe and those who are traditionalists and want America to reflect it's founding principles. Let the discussions continue and as you were forthcoming with an apology, let me offer my apologies to you and your wife. And again, Merry Christmas


don evans 4 years ago

Why did the founding fathers want the 2nd ammendment? They wanted the American people and following generations to have the check and balance power over a potential future corrupt and tyranical Government. Like the ones they escaped from.


Ronald Hamric 4 years ago


You and I, and those that see things through our prism, make your statements repeatidly. Since the "other side" cannot refute the integrity of that premise, they simply take the position that "things were oh so different in those days. We need to "adjust" those founding principles to meet the realities of todays world." And we have done just that over the 230 + years since this nations founding. That's why there are amendments to that document. But they know that the chances of removing or significantly altering the 2nd Amendemnt and it's original intent and purpose is not very likely in consideration of how difficult it is to get enough states to ratify that change. Their approach is going to be through executive fiat or legislation that basically has the effect of terminating our freedom to bear arms. Of course we currently hear their rhetoric claiming they acknowledge/recognize our individual rights under the 2nd Amendment and it is not their goal to remove firearms from the hands of law-abiding private citizens. Yet when truly drawn into the discussion, they are compelled to admit in order to reach their goals in this matter, that is exactly what they must do. It is designed to be incremental and subtle. It starts with the demonizing and restrictions on certain "classes" of firearms. Then as history has clearly shown, it eventually leads to the complete confiscation and abolition of all private firearms ownership. I think Australia and Great Britain are classic examples of that approach. The dirty little secret is that even in those two countries, the "establishment types" and criminal element still keep and bear arms. It's simply the law abiding peasants that have been disarmed. I know I'm preaching to the choir here and not putting forth anything that you do not already know, but once again we need to keep the dialogue open so we can progress towards solutions.


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