Whenever there is a tragedy that brings us to our knees, like the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, there are knee-jerk reactions and blame placed.

There are those who want to ban all guns and those who want to blame everyone and everything that they disagree with.

It is not that simple.

Nothing this complicated or this violent is ever simple.

I have never hunted a day in my life, but I would never want to ban all guns.

Because someone takes a gun and turns it on their fellow man, does not mean every person who owns and uses a gun should have that right taken from them.

We all know people who own guns and would never harm anyone, so why should they have their guns taken away.

It's like seeing an overweight person and saying we should close every McDonald's.

Or seeing someone who drank too much and saying we should go back to the days of prohibition. It's like people think that if we go to extremes, all problems will be eliminated.

China has strict gun-control laws. You know what? Violent crimes using knives are on the increase.

On the same day Adam Lanza gunned down students at Sandy Hook, a man walked into a Chinese elementary school and attacked 23 students. None were killed, and that cannot be overlooked, but if someone wants to do harm it doesn't matter whether it is in a school or a theater, it will happen.

China's homicide rate is lower than that of the United States, but it also should be noted that guns are available on the black market there and accessible to anyone who wants them.

People who buy guns on the black market are not waiting for pheasant season.

The one thing that makes sense to me so far, is President Obama stating we cannot accept this as a way of life, and we that we must address this issue.

Now it is up to all of us to figure out how.

Blaming the dissolution of the sanctity of marriage or violent video games or whatever you want to blame, doesn't solve a thing.

All playing the blame game does is fill up television time and the airwaves.

I am not saying that life isn't better and easier for children growing up in happy families, but that's not guaranteed.

I'm not saying that video games or television or music don't influence people, but you can't ban those things. Who would decide what to ban? We are not all influenced in the exact same way.

I can see a movie or hear a song and feel completely different than someone else.

The point is that broad-scale banning of weapons or blaming certain aspects of society is not going to solve the problem.

Remember my point about prohibition. People still drank, which led to corruption by criminals and law enforcement, and soon prohibition was repealed.

If banning guns or video games was the answer, it would have been tried years ago.

The answer to such complex problems takes much thought and should involve all of us.

But before we can start to look for ways to help, we have to get past banning all guns or placing blame.

It may not sound like much, but it's a start.

Patrick Murphy, of Columbus, Neb., is a former managing editor of The Garden City Telegram.