By DAVE McMILLION
9:32 PM EST, December 23, 2012
Jerome Edwards, a teacher at Williamsport High School, said he believes the nation is at a turning point following the Dec. 14 shootings at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school that left 20 children, six adults and the shooter dead.
The tragedy means the country needs to do more about not only keeping students safe, but teachers as well, said Edwards, who attended a vesper service at Trinity Lutheran Church in Smithsburg to help people deal with the tragedy.
“It strikes dead at home,” said Edwards, when asked what it felt like to hear the news as a teacher.
Virgil Cain, pastor at the church at 16 N. Main St., said he decided to lead the service because he has had a number of people in the church’s congregation and the community approach him about the shootings.
Cain said some people are having trouble coping with the tragedy and they wanted to know if there was anything that could be done to help ease the pain.
Cain led a 7 p.m. service that was heavily laden with Scripture to help people cope. There also were musical selections and time set aside for people to meditate.
Cain said it was important for the crowd of about 35 people to concentrate on the love that God has for mankind rather than dwell on “all those beautiful little children being murdered.”
Michael Wingert of Maugansville said he wanted to come to the service because he felt sorry for the families who lost children in the shootings. Wingert also came to pray for peace.
“It’s just hard to believe that someone could go in and take such young children’s lives. And we don’t know why,” Wingert said.
Jeff Goldstein came to the service concerned about issues surrounding the shooting, including the argument over where police should be in every school.
“I think the NRA is wrong in their attitude,” said Goldstein, of Smithsburg.
The National Rifle Association is asserting that guns and police officers in all schools are what will stop the next killer. But the idea has drawn widespread scorn, and even some NRA supporters in Congress are publicly disagreeing with the proposal.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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