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When children are being slaughtered it's time to talk about violence.

I find it difficult to write about sports this week. I’ve been doing it for the better part of 40 years, and have watched hundreds of youngsters go through local sports programs and the schools. I guess you know you’re getting old when the grandkids of youngsters you once wrote about are now coming through school.

What’s bothered me all weekend was the terrible shooting of 20 first graders in Newtown, Connecticut. It appears in all, 28 people perished including the shooter. Brave school administrators gave their lives trying to stop a crazed madman.by: SELF-POTRAIT - Sports Editor John Brewington

Having raised children myself, it breaks my heart to think of what the parents of those innocent children are going through. We put our hearts and souls into raising our children. It’s our job to teach them right and wrong, and to protect them the best we can.

I think of what those kids might have accomplished. Many probably would have been athletes. Some might have been scientists or doctors or teachers. So much potential. So many loved little ones gone in a horrific, terrifying way.

On a large scale, school shootings have been infrequent, but I think each of us knows that the taking of so many young lives is just hard to grasp. Only a terribly deranged person could do such a thing.

I watched off and on all weekend as one reporter or commentator after another brought up the issue of gun control. I don’t want to debate that issue. It appears the killer had mental issues and easy access to his mother’s guns.

I saw stories of people rushing out this past weekend to buy their share of guns and frankly I just don’t get it. Will they be safer with more guns? I worry whether we’ll be safe from them. Do they really need assault weapons?

I saw a young man that had been at Clackamas Town Center during that shooting last week. He had a concealed weapons permit, had his gun out, and a bead on the shooter. He chose not to shoot because of the crowd rushing by, and shortly after that the gunman killed himself.

A legislator here in Oregon is suggesting that teachers should be armed. Seriously? Would they also be trained in the use of deadly force? Would they be able to keeps guns safely locked away and still be able to use them? I know a lot of teachers, many of them coaches, who probably would be able to use a gun. My gut tells me that none of them would think it is such a good idea.

My wife and I were in tears as the story of what happened in Newtown unfolded. We’ve had bad shootings over the years—Columbine, Aurora, Tucson. It’s the saddest thing. But the killing of little children is just beyond the pale.

President Obama spoke in front of those in Newtown Sunday night. He also spoke earlier and even he was obviously touched. More than once I saw him wipe away a tear.

The President said we need to have a meaningful conversation about the causes of this tragedy. I see nothing wrong with that at all. I’m sure there are those that don’t want to talk about it. Certainly, the gun lobby doesn’t want to talk about it. Heck, with every shooting that draws national attention they make millions.

I don’t want to ban guns. I don’t want to lock up everyone with mental issues. I would just like to see us talk about what happened without everyone going crazy. Some say it was worse way back whenever. Well, if we’d had a more serious conversation then, perhaps we could at least have slowed down these killings. There has got to be some things that can be done. I never want to hear of 20 young children being killed again.

Just for the record: it might seem like I’m advocating for gun control. I’m not. It could seem I’m attacking the second amendment. I’m not. What I’m advocating is to find a way to keep young children from being slain in their schoolroom.

It’s a dialogue that is long overdue.

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