The horrendous shootings at Virginia Tech are incredibly heartbreaking. Such a large loss of life in a single incident is difficult to imagine, and undoubtedly we do not have all the relevant facts. We may never know precisely why a Virginia Tech student decided to go on a bloody rampage.
What is truly disturbing is how this incident was handled. Two separate shootings spaced two hours apart — and the methodological planning of the engineering hall attack suggests that the gunman intended to create a distraction.
While it is natural to try to draw policy implications from tragedies like these, it’s not a sound basis for policy. Any number of things could have prevented this tragedy, and increases to gun control laws might not have been one of them.
The most important thing now is to help the grieving families with their losses. Matters of public policy should be only a secondary concern. Turning this into a political issue — at least this soon — seems to draw our attention away from remembering the lives lost, turning what is and should be a very human tragedy into nothing more than a set of talking points. Lives were lost yesterday, and we shouldn’t be so eager to intersperse our own opinions in the matter that we forget that each of those lives had and still have value to us all.