I CANNOT EVEN fathom the pain that many people are feeling after Friday's events. I, for one, feel pain, anger, fear, and despair and I was lucky enough on Friday to hug and kiss my two girls.

Some want to make sense or explain why or how these senseless acts can happen. But I am left with no answer, reason, motive, or meaning for this violent act on our most cherished and innocent.

This has left a hole in my heart that I feel will never heal. I can only hope that if my children ask me about this savage act that I will be able to pull it together and try to console them.

But right now I can only feel pain, sorrow and despair for what we have become to allow this act to happen. I have no answer and wish that it was just a bad dream.

I know that it will all pass for most of us because it didn't strike our loved ones. But, really, how can we just allow this to happen and move on? That is where my fear really lies.

Mark Dwyer

Rockledge

Didn't see it coming

When the 2nd Amendment was being written it's hard to imagine that our forefathers had any inkling regarding the types of weapons that our society would eventually build. It's more plausible to believe that their language would've been chosen with much more care and much more specificity.

One can no longer yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater, yet constitutionally speaking, one could legally conceal a weapon with a magazine that was solely designed to produce mass casualties in mere seconds.

Anthony D. Johnson

Philadelphia

A troubling agenda

Like most people, members of the National Rifle Association will always remember where they were on the morning of Dec. 14, 2012. Perhaps they will even ask themselves if they had anything at all to do with this horrifically inhuman act, seeing as their argument - that human failings, not guns, kill - is becoming less acceptable: Statistics show that in America there is a greater incidence of "human failings" than there is elsewhere.

According to the World Health Organization, while firearms homicides occur globally, out of 23 developed and developing nations, "80 percent of those homicides occur in the U.S., even though the U.S. population comprises only about one-third of the total of those 23 nations." In hard numbers this means that about 10,000 people die each year in the U.S. who would not die if they lived elsewhere.

The fact is, firearms act as enablers because they promote quick, efficient killing. But you won't hear this from the mainstream media - a/k/a the conservative-owned media - because at election time it backs those who couldn't care less who dies as long as they can count on the NRA vote, without which they could not promote their agenda of power-acquisition and greed - the agenda that today is tearing America apart.

Donald Wood

Neptune, N.J.

The saddest holiday

It's sad that so many innocent lives were lost, especially the 20 children who were looking forward to Christmas as most children do around this time of year and instead of buying Christmas gifts the families now have to plan funerals.

I'm a loving father and parent, and this is the type of thing that we parents fear the most. Who would think that, when you drop them off for school that would be the last time you saw your kids alive?

Carl Manley

Philadelphia

Role of mental illness

Time and again, when someone mows down the innocent, we Americans deny the mental- health issue in this country. No one wants to believe that it takes someone removed from reality and sanity to commit unwanted deaths of this scale.

It must be easier to blame the gun and the availability of firearms, rather than come to the conclusion that no healthy mind would kill another. No. Americans would deny imperfections. And Americans would never admit that in a society where no one and no thing is responsible for anything, mental illness is one of those "things" that few, very few admit even exist, except as a courtroom defense.

In our world of "know-it-alls" and mass communications, mental illness is still not taken as seriously as it should be, and it is not identified as well as it should be until something like Connecticut or Colorado or Virginia or Oregon happens.

The taboo of mental illness still haunts American society and until Americans take a mature attitude towards what our responsibility is to protect anyone and anything from unhealthy acts that begin in an unhealthy mind, then we should expect more killings that are explicable and preventable - if only we help those with these mental imperfections.

Celeste A. Morello

Philadelphia