My stomach for living on the ground level in Los Angeles sure isn’t what it used to be.

Another shooting. This time at a high school in my hometown. It was Valentine’s day. Really don’t know how much closer to home it could hit. We’re talking a margin of literally a few miles.

It’s disturbing not being surprised that this happened. Of course it did. It’s a part of our culture now. Likely only to get worse. If Sandy Hook happened and we’re still here doing this, then there appears to be no last straw, even though the camel’s back is already broken.

My shock is that this happened where I grew up. Where my parents and brother still live. If we had lived just a few miles one direction or the other, I would’ve gone to that high school. My wife graduated from there. She did the morning announcements.

I grew up in a great place to grow up. In a great home. I look back fondly on my younger and teen years there. It feels weird to have this piece of your heart tarnished. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of pitfalls growing up. I’ve seen more than a few fall into drugs. But these are traps found everywhere. Navigating them is just part of getting taller.

Anyways. This one was different for me. Though, I said the same thing the last time I shared my thoughts on gun violence. Thoughts and prayers are useless, unless the thoughts are about solutions.

Donate to Victim Fund

Good riddance. It’s been a difficult year, to say the least. Maybe the hardest of my life. Despite it all though, there were still some pretty bright spots that burned in the dark.

Two good friends got engaged. Another two got married. Moved into a new apartment. Visited Ireland, New York City, Chicago, Seattle, Palms Springs, Tahoe, Solvang and St. Petersburg. Got to know my future brother in-law. Went spelunking for the first time. Made some art that I’m proud of. And above all else, I got engaged to the woman I love.

It’s enough to think 2016 would’ve been one of my best. But like I said, It’s been a hard one, and I’m ready for a fresh start.

Every morning I read a news digest that gives me the broad strokes of what happened in the world while I was sleeping. Every night I read it again, to learn what happened while I was working.

Mainly, it contains awful things, but it’s still my responsibility to read it everyday.

Sometimes breakthroughs in science, medicine and technology make it in. Articles about real progress. These articles make me happy.

But mainly, I read about people hurting and killing each other, in various scales. Day in and day out. It is troubling, and I can’t imagine it changing.

The best you can do, is harden your heart.