The Problem with DOING SOMETHING!!! about a Tragic Event

In response to the shooting in Newtown, my school shut down one of the two entrances to campus.

The problems with this are:

1) The fact that this shooting was much closer to us than other mass shootings gives it emotional wallop, but absolutely no significance for the likelihood of anything similar happening to us; and
2) The entrance that remains open is not guarded: anyone who wanted to could drive a mechanized infantry combat vehicle through it and it wouldn't be noted for five or so minutes. I imagine police might be put there for a couple of days, but even if so, the guns will be in the trunk, and I am sure they are not going to search every car entering campus.

In the emotional wake of a spectacularly bad event, the urge to immediately DO SOMETHING!!! should usually be resisted. (Of course, if there was an earthquake, and you expect an aftershock, or a shooting but the shooter got away, you probably should react swiftly!) The reason is the "something" is likely to be pointless or worse. After we all have calmed down a bit, and are able to think, then we should talk about what to do.


  1. Anonymous8:28 PM

    Gosh, that is such a horrible thing that happened today. I really don't know what to say about it. You point is good, in most situations it is best to calm down and get your bearings before making hasty choices. However, I will say that when events like this occur, that I always ask myself two questions: was this person on any medication, and what was his home life like as a child?


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