I write this letter with a heavy heart after reading about how U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales allegedly gunned down 17 Afghan civilians this month.

My heart is heavy with sadness for the families in Afghanistan affected by the incomprehensible tragedy and the grief of losing loved ones.

My heart is also heavy with sadness for our military personnel who will suffer the backlash over such an act. But my heart is heaviest for Bales, his family and our country.

I don't anticipate that any rational explanation will make sense of the murderous acts committed.

I can only hope that we, as a nation, can work on keeping our troops out of prolonged wars.