To the extent that discussing what caused the tragedy at the Navy Yard can help us avoid other families' losing loved ones, we should have a passionate and thorough debate. But instead of falling into familiar talking points, both sides should promise to remember the victims as people and not a new set of evidence for one side or the other.
Perhaps this act, meant for evil, can be used as a catalyst for change in a town badly in need of it.
As we look to help my wife's parents raise our niece and deal with the longer-term implications of Lindsay's smiling face no longer being there to greet us on each visit to Houston, it's important to note that none of us harbor any feelings of hate for the person involved or his family. Forgiveness is an effective salve for even the deepest wound.
My hope for the victims' families in the Navy Yard shooting is that they are able to walk the road ahead with memories of those they lost and that the D.C. community, now reeling from a heinous crime, can rally together and bring positive change as a result of the senseless tragedy this week.
Joe Brettell is a public relations consultant and former Capitol Hill aide. On twitter @joebrettell
Opinions expressed in this piece are not endorsed by ABC News.