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Trying to make sense of the senseless

There's a time and a place for everything, especially in the face of unspeakable tragedy.

Like millions of Americans, I watched and listened in horror as the mass shooting tragedy unfolded at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. I've been a parent for a whopping 49 days. As a journalist, I've followed too many tragedies to count, and I'm having a hard time processing these new and raw emotions that come with being the father of a small child.

Today and the days that follow are the days for us to talk about those feelings, and to grapple with how something like this can happen. The following days are the time to reflect, publicly and privately, about the tragedy.

Police are still trying to piece together what made an obviously very disturbed individual take 28 lives, most of them children. We don't know why he did it. As I write this, we don't know much of anything.

But there are some things I do know.

I know I shouldn't feel guilty about my recent blog posts in which I champion the right to bear arms. Yet I have this inexplicable urge to explain myself.

I know that I'm a good man. I own firearms, from handguns to assault rifles. I use them for recreation and for personal protection. I like to think that any of my co-workers and neighbors, when asked, would vouch for my character.

I know that my father-in-law, also a a gun owner, is one of the most decent men I have ever met.

I know that I can say the same for my old Army buddies, who also owned guns, and that even after all these years I would willingly, without hesitation, entrust any of them with my life.

I know that one of the most valuable lessons my parents ever taught me is that you are judged by the company you keep.

I know that there are tens of millions of law-abiding gun owners in this country who watched this tragedy with the same horror that I did.

There are other things I know, that I hope that most other people know, too.

I know that now is not the time to scream for more laws, especially when we still know so little.

I know that now is not the time to scream that the government can have their guns when they pry them from their dead hands.

I know that now is not the time to scream about violence in television and video games.

Now is the time to mourn.

Now is the time to reflect, publicly and privately, about the tragedy.

Now is the time to cry, to pray for families, a school and community torn apart. Now is the time to heal, to bury the dead.

Now is the time to follw the adage that if you have nothing nice or constructive to say, don't say anything at all. Now is the time, if there ever was one, to think before saying/writing/tweeting something you'll regret later.

Now is the time to talk with our children about what happened.

And in my case, to hold month-old daughter in my rocking chair and not say a word.

Just stare.

Senior Writer Kevin Craver can be reached at kcraver@shawmedia.com

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