For all of us, the glow of this holiday season has been darkened by the unthinkable tragedy of last Friday's mass shooting.
Children filled with bright promise are no more. Their shining faces look back at us from newspapers, from TV screens. What wouldn't we give - any of us - to have them back, safe in their parents' arms.
The adults who helped them - principal, school psychologist, teacher, special-ed assistant, intern - their faces look back, too. They were there to help children, and did. We know them as faces, names, and last acts of courage. Kindness radiates from their photos. We wish we had known them.
We cannot bring them back.
All we can do is work to prevent something like this from happening again.
In a horrible coincidence, that same day, a man attacked 22 children at an elementary school in China. All survived. Their attacker was wielding a knife.
We must act to reduce gun violence in this country. I support our president in calling for meaningful action.
No civilian needs an assault weapon, or extended magazines, for hunting or protection.
These weapons are designed to kill people - many people, at once. They're designed for war.
As Tucson's mayor, I prefer to focus on local issues.
Gun laws are a national issue. But I feel compelled, as a person of conscience, to speak out.
I hope Tucsonans will join me in contacting their congressional representatives and senators and their state legislators in calling for meaningful action. If you agree that civilians have no need for assault weapons or extended magazines, let them know.
Something everyone can do, that Star cartoonist and columnist David Fitzsimmons and others have called for, is to dim our holiday lights for one hour this Friday at sunset to honor the bright lights that were taken from us and to show our support for common-sense gun laws.
I do not know whether, in our current Congress or state Legislature, meaningful action is possible. Particularly in Arizona, common-sense gun laws have gone nowhere. Cities like Tucson can't pass our own gun laws. Our Legislature has pre-empted that authority.
What I do know is that, for common-sense gun laws to pass, ordinary people will need to show extraordinary passion and commitment in making that happen.
Until then, we will stay stuck where we are - waiting for the next dark day to dawn.
Jonathan Rothschild is the mayor of Tucson. Email him at email@example.com