02/15/08 — No real answer: Another day of tragedy prompts sad reflection

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No real answer: Another day of tragedy prompts sad reflection

There really isn’t any one answer to what to do to prevent another tragedy like the ones that claimed more than a dozen lives over the past 12 months on two college campuses.

That’s because there is no real explanation for why a man would pick up a gun, jump out from behind a lecture hall curtain and start shooting.

The killings at Northern Illinois University, like those at Virginia Tech last year, are the kind of news that makes you wonder what the world is coming to, and whether it is really safe for anyone anymore.

As the Northern Illinois campus tries to figure out how to move forward, and the Virginia Tech community continues its healing process, this nation probably will start doing more thinking about how to protect its college students and others from such tragedies.

And they will find out that there really isn’t one answer — a magic wand that will put up a forcefield that stops crazies from taking out innocent victims.

Violence is often random and senseless — and unpredictable.

But this might be a time to wonder if perhaps we are raising a generation desensitized to violence and the horrors that accompany it. The limits on violence and mayhem on television are almost nonexistent, while video games go even further. Maybe it is just too much.

Cutting back wouldn’t stop a crazed gunman. But at this point, thinking about the next step should include all possibilities, including increased security procedures on campuses. Anything that could prevent another community from enduring this heartache is worth considering.

In the meantime, our hearts go out to those for whom it is already too late — young lives taken much too soon.

Published in Editorials on February 15, 2008 11:43 AM