Forsyth County hires this Dawson County judge as its assistant county manager
Tarnacki has served as a magistrate judge in Dawson County since 2009.
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In the midst of it all, Christmas
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As I write this, ‘tis a few days before Christmas and all is not well.

As you read it, the "right jolly old elf" will have taken his reindeer out of sight, but beneath the rooftop, what will have changed?

Now we teeter precariously on a fiscal cliff and postulate on what to do on the other side - whether our governmental leaders leap, fall, tumble or sail.

We know that the initial movement is not a final solution to our spending/ taxing/ debt problems.

Will those leaders find a compromise that helps the majority of us?

Can we live comfortably with proposed spending cuts?

Can extra revenue do what is needed to provide necessary governmental services?

Can we eventually come to policies that will be fair to Americans generally?

None will please all economic and political groups, but some can be "more equal" than others.

The nation is still in mourning after the tragedy at Newtown and discussing what can be done to prevent not only similar debacles but the consistent murders that are reported in almost every newscast.

Do we really want to become an armed nation?

Having been a teacher in both a very small school in my hometown and a large inner-city school that rambled over an entire city block, I cannot envision how an armed guard (police officer or trained volunteer) could respond quickly enough to prevent a madman with an assault weapon from accomplishing at least part of his mission.

And I definitely would not have wanted to have a gun in my room. Some suggested solutions seem to create more problems than they would alleviate.

Most of us agree that no one action can prevent violence. And we must admit that movies, television programs, video games, etc., do often glamorize it.

From the caveman to Superman, those who can conquer are hailed as heroes. Usually we admire and uphold only those who are protecting themselves or are battling obvious evils. Now we seem to have become so desensitized that violence is a major entertainment. Should that be changed?

Mental illness, often though not always, may exhibit itself in violent atttacks. In recent years, I served on a regional advisory council that dealt with the treatment of those with behavioral and/or physical disabilities. It has since been defunded and disbanded.It was surprising to me to learn how many homes were affected because of family members who often threatened those within their homes. And there was actually very little recourse.

I've learned of parents of youngsters as well as adults who were afraid to sleep at night unless their children were locked in their rooms. Somehow we must do better.

So how can we really mean "Merry" Christmas? There's nothing merry about situations I have described.

Yet in the midst of our lives, there is light.

Christians find the source of light in God who came to earth as the Christ. Others find it in a goodness that prevails even in the midst of troubles.

My wish for all of us is that we will find lights that dispel many of the darknesses that surround us, now and in the year to come.

Helen Taylor's column appears periodically in the Dawson Community News.