As the country watches in shock and horror over yet another mass shooting at a school, we all mourn the loss of over 20 lives, most of their children.

It's at moments like this, especially if you have small children and grandchildren, that your heart breaks for the victims' families and what horror and sadness they must be going through.

If you read the comments on social media from average citizens and politicians, you'll see sadness give way to anger and partisanship. Many of us ask why this is happening so often now. As with many tragedies and dangers of our time many also ask, is it worse now or is it just that we hear about it so immediately and so widely through mass media?

Plenty of people are trying to exploit the tragedy for political purposes or to take out their anger and mistrust on anyone with a viewpoint that differs from theirs. The exploitation of this tragedy especially by our leaders is transparently and obviously disgusting.

APTOPIX Texas School Shooting
Police walk near Robb Elementary School following a shooting, Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

Of course, any mass shooting and killing of any kind anywhere is saddening and sickening. With dizzying speed of the news cycle and all of the major events we might forget that New Jersey had a mass shooting on May 22, 2021, almost one year ago almost to the day. Twelve people were shot and two died in Bridgeton at a house party.

Here in New Jersey, we have the horrible distinction of being the site of one of the earliest mass murders in United States history. September 6, 1949.

There are a few people who were alive and have vivid memories of a mass shooting in Camden back in 1949 by a man named Howard Unruh. He was angry with his neighbor for tampering with his fence. Unruh took his 9mm pistol and walked through his neighborhood on a methodical shooting spree killing 13 and wounding 3 others.

According to "A Brief History of Mass Shootings" by Maria Esther Hammack, mass shootings in the United States can be traced back even further: to March 28, 1891, when a gunman opened fired on children and adults at Parson Hall School House in Liberty, Mississippi, wounding 14.

In 1903, a war veteran opened fire in Winfield, Kansas, killing nine people in a crowd. The list compiled by Hammack goes on.

Sadly this is not just a product of our modern society. It's happened throughout the history of the world and every state in this country.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy only.

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These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions:

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