2. Prepare and protect your community. Joe Cascarelli of Westcliffe, Colo., wrote me about how he and other citizens took their children's safety into their own hands. "It was 10 years ago that our sheriff put an ad in the local paper to initiate the formation of the Sheriff's Posse. About 40 of us volunteered; today we have about 20 active Posse members. Eight years ago, the Posse command staff offered to provide the local school district with daily security patrols when the school was in session, at school athletic events and during school dances including the annual prom." Law enforcement conducted emergency drills, training to prepare for mass shootings and joint sessions with first responders.
"The Posse has continued its patrols at school events and during the school day. Posse patrols have become a visible, accepted part of our community," Cascarelli told me. "Anyone intent on harm would see armed uniformed personnel at the school daily. The Posse even has an Amber Alert at the local rodeo. When an atrocity like Columbine, Virginia Tech and most recently in Newtown, Conn., happens, all we hear is carefully crafted words of grief, heartrending interviews with parents, and TV's talking heads with knee-jerk 'solutions.' Well, our little community has implemented a local solution. Trained, armed volunteers daily protect our children. What is the matter with the rest of the country? Where are concerned parents and citizens willing to carve out some time to provide similar security?"
1. Teach our kids to value and respect life by valuing and respecting them always. And in loving and valuing life, teach them also not to fear death. The Catholic hymn "Be Not Afraid" offers time-tested solace and sage advice:
If you pass through raging waters, in the sea, you shall not drown.
If you walk amidst the burning flames, you shall not be harmed.
If you stand before the pow'r of hell and death is at your side, know that I am with you, through it all.
Be not afraid, I go before you always.
Come follow Me and I shall give you rest.