The events in Newtown, CT last Friday cast a long and very sad shadow over the light that Hannukah, Christmas and all of the winter time holidays spread. But if my life has taught me anything, it is that in our darkest hours, we learn our most important lessons.

This is one I learned.

We hear a lot of talking points from pundits, from special interest groups, from individuals and from media personalities. These talking points move an agenda forward. They don't move us forward as society. I grew up in a city where guns were almost always associated with violence. I have friends who grew up hunting or in the mountains. Everyone had a gun in case they met an unexpected mountain lion or bear, or they liked to go hunting. My feelings about guns and their appropriate place are probably never going to be the same as those of my brother's school mates from USAFA and I am probably not going to be able to convert a lot of the kids I knew growing up to my understanding of violence and the machines that make it easier. But I think that whether we are talking about guns, taxes, abortion, or any hot or not button issue that faces us, I think we can do a lot of good if we ditch the talking points and actually talk about making reasonable progress. I think that there are an awful lot of people who are looking for the same outcomes. But if we keep on depending on other people's talking points, we're not going to make any progress. 

I find when I actually listen to others (which I admit, I don't do as much as I should) I learn an awful lot. So I am going to try to listen more. I encourage you to do the same thing. And I hope that what happened last week will be more than a tragedy -- that it will begin a constructive dialogue on changes we can all get behind that will help make tragedies like this a dark, sad thing of the past. Because at this point, there has been enough that we should have learned something.

1 Comment