THUMBS DOWN: Coming so soon on the heels of the Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting, the Christmas Eve ambush slaying of two Webster, N.Y. firefighters by a crazed ex-con who set fire to his own house to draw them in raises some similar, and some different, questions.
Spengler, 62, used the same kind of assault weapon that Adam Lanza used to kill school children and teachers in Newtown, but he certainly came from a different background. He served 17 years in prison for manslaughter in the hammer slaying of his own grandmother, and apparently killed his 67-year-old sister before setting fire to the house. While Lanza got the guns from his mother, who purchased them legally, who knows how Spengler got his hands on this kind of weaponry. He violated all kinds of existing laws by possessing these.
This case, like the Newtown case, seems to call for a multi-pronged approach to curbing this kind of violence. We must get high-powered military-style assault rifles out of circulation, and we must find a way to identify and deal with the mentally ill and violently-disposed.
'A new beginning'
THUMBS UP: A new memorial was dedicated this week to the 38 Dakota who were hanged in Mankato 150 years ago after the US-Dakota War. "Today, being here to witness a great gathering, we have peace in our hearts -?a new beginning of healing," said Arvol Looking Horse, leader of the Lakota/Dakota tribe.
We agree with his words, but we realize that healing can take time, and can be painful, too. We know there are many who still harbor pain and resentment for the suffering of their ancestors, whether they were the settlers who were killed in the attacks or the Dakota people who suffered in exile and relegation to second-class citizenry for years to come.
With the dedication, the healing has begun. Let it continue until all the old wounds are healed.
On the brink
FINGERS CROSSED: President Obama and Congressional leaders met Friday to talk about a fiscal deal to avert the cliff that is coming up on Tuesday. Talks were "constructive," but there are still talks going on in hopes of an agreement in the Senate.
We're keeping our fingers crossed, but time is running short.