Growing up in Northern Maine, firearms were just a normal part of life. Everyone I knew either had a firearm of some sort, or at least had access to one. And incidents involving firearms seemed to be far and few between--accidents mostly. But now there appears to be a national crisis--men, women, and children are dying left and right, usually at the hand of some disgruntled, mentally disturbed individual with an agenda and a gun. But are these incidents really that uncommon?

I bet you could pore through hundreds of newspapers and websites dating back decades and you'd find an endless litany of tragic stories involving people shooting loved ones and complete strangers for reasons sometimes known only to them. They are hard to comprehend, but not that unusual.

And even the most ardent of NRA members agree that 'things' need to be done. But what are the answers to curb gun violence in our society?

Recently, there have been suggestions of arming teachers in light of the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy. The visual of an elderly teacher with books, chalk, crayons and markers in-hand, and a six-shooter strapped to her hip is just plain odd to me.

Walmarts (CNN story) everywhere have now taken the stance that they will limit the amount of ammo any one person can buy. But like the alcohol prohibition of the 1920's, I think people are more inclined to find ways of getting it just the same.

Assault, military- style weapons are now targeted. These weapons will no doubt be off limits and possibly illegal for anyone to own. Again, tell people they can't have it, and they'll find a way.

But doesn't it all boil down to Second Amendment rights, anyway? Shouldn't we have the right to keep and bear arms? There are more caring people here in America who can handle the responsibility of owning a firearm, than there are crooks and nuts.

As many times as I've mulled this dilemma over in my head, I don't have an answer. Proselytizers might say that Jesus is the answer, which in part I believe is true, but I also believe it starts with a change of heart and attitude first.

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