The Sniper and Children

To watch "The Memo" click here.

Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly.  Thanks for watching us tonight.

The sniper and the children.  That is the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo.

First of all, our condolences to the family of Linda Franklin, shot dead last night while loading packages from Home Depot in Fairfax, Virginia.  Ms. Franklin leaves a husband and two grown children.  She is the 11th American to be shot by the sniper, nine have died.

If you combine 9/11 with the attacks on children in the summer and now add in the sniper, you have a fearful environment for kids, and America is not supposed to be a fearful place.  I grew up in the time of nuclear confrontation with the Soviet Union, fallout shelters, all that stuff, yet I wasn't afraid during my childhood.

Today millions of American kids are afraid.

So what do we do?  The answer is to turn this time in history into a teaching tool, just like the children of the Depression or of World War II.  Kids today must be guided through a very nasty time.  Children must be taught there is evil in the world, and that evil must be confronted by good.  They must understand that someday they will be called upon to fight against wrongdoing, and they must be prepared to answer that call.

Kids will accept logical explanations for even the most dastardly behavior.  I tell children that people like the sniper and others that hurt innocent people are crazy and that they have to be punished by judges and juries.

I also tell them there aren't very many crazy people around, that most Americans are good, and this country stands for good, which is why we have so much freedom.

Then I tell kids they must be brave, and if they have questions, to ask their parents and teachers and not be afraid of doing that.  Above all, children need to feel that the adults closest to them are in control of any and all situations.  Kids need to feel secure.  And parents and teachers have a responsibility to provide that security.

Thus, any chaos or panic or irresponsibility that an adult brings into the house or classroom hurts kids, and there's no excuse for that.  Displaying your anxiety or weakness to the children you come into contact with is unacceptable behavior.

Our tradition in America is to stand firm in the face of terror and evil.  We've seen it before.  We've beaten it before.  The sniper will be caught, and Al Qaeda will be defeated.  That will happen.

In the meantime, we have to absorb the punishment because we can do little about it.  But we can provide an example of courage and strength for American kids, who will need a good dose of that in the years to come.

And that's The Memo.

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Time now for the "Most Ridiculous Item of the Day."

Madonna's new movie, Swept Away, is shaping up to be one of the biggest bombs in the history of film.  So damage control is now in motion.

Spin is zipping out of Madonna's camp.  Her paid spokespeople are blaming the movie's bad reception on the film critics who they say are mean to Madonna.

Now I haven't seen Swept Away, it's not real high on my list, but I have seen a few other Madonna movies, and they were -- and I don't want to be mean -- terrible.  To say otherwise would be ridiculous.

The No Spin truth is that Madonna can sing a bit, but the acting thing has eluded her.

— You can watch Bill O'Reilly's Talking Points and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 & 11p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel. Send your comments to: