I have spent enough time at Virginia Tech in years past to feel particularly saddened by the nightmare that unfolded there yesterday. I’ve read about the dead, learned the disturbing details we are gradually finding out about the killer, and contemplated what anyone could, or should, have done to prevent it.
I’m afraid the answer is no different than it was after Columbine or any of the other shootings in recent years: not much. We can try harder to identify outcasts with delusions of murderous grandeur. We can work to keep guns out of the hands of potential madmen. We can implement emergency lockdowns, and use them when called for.
But in the end, there is nothing to be done except for each and every one of us to reach out to the forlorn — and to fight back in any way we can if danger looms. I’d rather die trying to stop a shooter than die cowering behind a desk. And I’m sure some of the dead in Blacksburg did just that.