As with all frightening and seemingly senseless events, we seek answers so as to try to learn lessons and thereby protect the safety of ourselves and our loved ones. The first question regarding the Virginia Tech massacre is why?
A profile is emerging of a very disturbed young man; a loner. I refuse to use his name because I don't believe in giving these types of maniacs any kind of misplaced glory or notoriety, for fear of encouraging other loose cannons to take similar action out of desperation or whatever happens to motivate them.
However, we have learned that the killer was reported to have issues that should have set off warning bells long before this tragic event. The Sun gives us the background of a very worrisome student who had set off a fire in his dorm, was difficult to get along with, and who wrote very violent fiction. None of these might have been enough to cause his expulsion, but it did seem that there was a lack of follow up when he was encouraged to seek therapy by teachers and school officials.
There will be much discussion in colleges and universities everywhere regarding the need to be aware of such dangerous students, and the proper way to deal with them so that they don't fall through the cracks.
So many other issues arise as well, such as should the entire campus been shut down after the first two murders? Lorrie Goldstein seems to give the administration the benefit of the doubt.
Should students, or at least campus police have been allowed to carry concealed handguns? This and more will be debated in the weeks and months to come.
I believe that the one overriding lesson that is very self-evident however, is that each of us has to start becoming more aware of what is around us; more attentive to the people in our lives and on the periphery. We need to start taking responsibility for those that seem on the brink of despair and alert the appropriate authorities rather than turning a blind eye.
It's so easy to get caught up in our own little world of misplaced priorities, but the tragedy at Virginia Tech reminds us of the danger of that kind of attitude.