My house is quieter now with all the delightful noises of Christmas/new year's done and the children and grandchildren gone.
Sometimes, goodbye is hard to say. Especially when you are burying a kindergarten child.
We all ache for the people of Newtown, Conn., who had their hearts ripped out with the shootings of children and teachers.
The United States has the highest rate of civilian gun ownership in the world. (The second highest is Serbia, where the rate is only half of the U.S. Canada is 13th.)
The U.S. and Mexico also have the greatest number of gun related deaths, according to Wikepedia.
In California, thousands of guns have been turned in since the shootings, when a small reward was offered for their return. In upstate New York, a newspaper published the addresses of all gun owners so parents could be aware.
Perhaps Americans are on the long road to some gun relief.
But what about Canada and the Central Okanagan? Do we know where the guns are? And who checks that they are under lock and key?
It is sad that a young man would have access to such powerful weapons as were used in Newtown. There is more to be told of how these weapons were managed in his home.
Could it happen in Kelowna?
You bet it could.
Each registered gun owner in Canada had an average of 4.14 guns in 2010, up from 3.72 in 2006, according to the RCMP.
The best guesstimate is that there are approximately 10 million guns in Canada.
There is a lot of hysteria around gun control, on both sides. The federal Conservatives delighted in calling Liberal gun control policies a "billion-dollar boondoggle" then destroyed the records already paid for.
So far, only Quebec has insisted it will keep the long-gun registry. Police chiefs in that province have said it is important to them. Where are the rest of the provinces in standing up for a safer society?
When Alan Rock was justice minister, he pushed for tighter gun control and succeeded.
The response was just as hysterical in Canada as in the U.S. I tried to help the pro-gun-control group and to suggest how to manage the kinds of guns at the shooting range where I lived.
Yes, this included assault-type weapons. For this, I was rewarded with posters put up around the community, comparing me with Hitler. Canadian people were sure the federal government was going to seize their house, and they would not be able to defend it.
Expect the gun rhetoric to escalate even more in the United States in the next while, as teachers take weapons training and the National Rifle Association insists that all should be armed.
Is it really necessary to introduce children to guns, even at shooting ranges, before they are close to being adults?
Do we really believe teens cannot figure out how to get into gun lockers if they can crack computer codes?
Next time you look your school-age children in the eye, ask yourself would you want teachers armed in your schools? Or would you want to know where the guns are in your neighborhood - just in case?
And so we say goodbye to kindergarten students Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Josephine, Dylan, Madeleine, Catherine, Chase, Jesse, Ann, James, Grace, Emily, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Avielle, Benjamin and Allison. And to their teachers: Rachel, Dawn, Anne-Marie, Lauren, Mary, and Victoria.
You might want to look into their eyes here: www.cnn.com/interactive/2012/12/us/sandy-hook-victims/index.html?iid=article_sidebar and then decide what you should do for the children who are still here.
Reg Volk writes monthly on politics and local decision-making. He can be reached at