Violence has tragically come to the place we call home.
At a time when people are hopeful for "peace on earth, good will to all," we are now in mourning and shock over Friday's sickening shooting deaths of three people, plus the gunman, on Juniata Valley Road, just outside of Geeseytown.
The mourning and shock are magnified by the 27 murders - mostly children at an elementary school - on Dec. 14 in Newtown, Conn.
We are not naive to believe that we are immune to violence, but we do feel more secure when large outbreaks of violence happen "somewhere else."
Somewhere else is now Geeseytown, Pa.
We offer our condolences to the families of Kimberly A. Scott, William Rhodes and Kenneth Lynn, all killed in the gun violence. We offer our prayers for comfort, strength, peace and love.
In the days to come, we hope to learn more of what led Jeffrey Lee Michael, the man authorities identified as the gunman and who was later killed in a shootout with state troopers, to go on Friday's rampage.
Out of all the sorrow, there is a measure of thankfulness.
Three state troopers were injured in the incident.
Two were shot at by Michael - a bulletproof vest stopped one bullet - and were wounded either by bullets or flying glass. A third trooper was injured when Michael's truck crashed head-on into his patrol car.
All three troopers were released Friday from Altoona Regional.
"Someone was watching over them," state police Deputy Commissioner Lt. George Bivens said Friday at a news conference.
We offer our thanks to the troopers who laid their lives on the line to stop the gunman. We pray for the troopers' recovery and for their families during this traumatic time.
Finally we pray for peace on earth and good will to all - especially in Geeseytown. We hope the closeness of the community will provide the shared support each person needs in this time of tragedy.