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December 29, 2012

Shootings can happen anywhere

NORMAN — We were outraged by the mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. We were frightened when a gunman started firing at a shopping mall in suburban Portland, Ore. We wept at the most senseless tragedy of them all, when a troubled young man targeted innocent children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Last week, the effects of mass shootings hit nearer to home when a gunman in Blair County, Pa., killed three people before being fatally shot by state troopers, erasing any doubt we might have had about whether such a tragedy could happen here.

We pray that it doesn’t, but the truth is such a shooting can happen anywhere at any time. It's a frightening reality but we must come to terms with it. We must also try to change it.

There already is a renewed effort to tighten gun laws. We say enforce the ones on the books.

There is also a much-needed push to do a better job of recognizing and treating mental illness. Maybe that can help stem what seem to be weekly reports of these slayings.

We don’t know the answer. No one does. But we all need to work together to find a way to make America safer so that we don’t live in fear. Our future and way of life depend upon it.

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