No doubt parents across Chilliwack, and much of the world, held their children a little tighter following reports of Friday's devastating school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
For those following on Twitter, the events unfolded like a paralyzing nightmare: a school shooting but no children killed. Then a handful of children, then 10, 17, and finally, horrendously, 20. All in addition to six slain adults.
Even now, days later, it's impossible to comprehend.
Children, 11 days from Christmas morning. Many would have already hung stockings for Santa.
Imagine the 25th in Newtown's homes peppered with half-eaten advent calendars and presents tagged with names now listed in the obituary pages instead of Sandy Hook elementary's Christmas concert program.
Fortunately we're blessed with different laws-and a different culture-when it comes to guns here in Canada.
And while our enduring squabble over the gun registry obviously shows we're not all on the same page, most Canadians aren't even holding the same book as a shocking number of locked-and-loaded Americans hiding behind their antiquated and likely misinterpreted Second Amendment.
With our proximity to the U.S. and proclivity for cross-border shopping, America's policies affect us directly. While we might not know what our politicians can do to assist, we can at least help them understand that restrictions on automatic weapons (to start) would only strengthen relationships with our southern cousins.
In the meantime, mental illness is something we can act upon immediately.
If you know of someone with extremely violent thoughts or urges, please look into the wealth of assistance offered through workplace programs, churches, or governmental agencies such as B.C.'s Department of Children and Family Development.
But maybe, for now, just go ahead and squeeze your kids one more time.