What is the appropriate response to a tragedy like Virginia Tech? I tried to write a bit of punditry about how something like this could have been prevented, but I then felt uncomfortable about it. Don’t we have enough flapping jaws on cable news and talk radio who are using this tragedy to promote their causes, their lobbies, and their latest book? And, honestly, could something like this really have been stopped?
The world has its share of people who are broken beyond repair. Who knows when the damage took place, and at what point someone could have fixed it before it was too late. Perhaps he needed a kind word or some guidance. Or maybe he needed to be institutionalized so that he couldn’t hurt himself or others. Maybe stricter guns laws may have prevented him from causing so many deaths, or maybe he would have found some other way to commit his mayhem.
We want simple explanations and quick fixes, and there are none. We want someone to blame, but there are many people who crossed that killer’s life who may have been able to stop him. We may eventually gain a better understanding and reveal some possible solutions. That requires time and not enough of it has passed for us to gain perspective.
So what can we do? Just the right thing to do: Grieve. Comfort the suffering, pray for them, and let them know they are not alone. Mourn the human potential that was destroyed, including the one whose spirit and mind had been destroyed long before that tragic April morning.
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