I was several years out of high school the first time it happened: a distraught high school kid bringing a gun to school to show the world. The high school he chose was my alma mater, and one of the people he took hostage was the man to whom I owed much, Dale. For hours upon hours, he and other office staff and administrators were held hostage, with the gunman releasing them one-by-one, letting Dale go in the early morning hours, the second-to-the-last to be released.
I was in college in New Jersey at the time, and my father called from California to tell me about what was happening in that high school in Northern Virginia. Thankfully, in that case, no one was physically harmed. I envision Dale trying with his wacky good humor to keep things on an even keel. I can see him working to relate to the boy, to make the boy see that it wasn't something he really wanted to be doing.
It doesn't seem like Dale, or anyone, would have had that opportunity to humanize themselves and others in so many instances since then. At first we knew the names of the schools, if not the killers themselves, but now it happens with such frequency that I don't think that's possible. The boy yesterday in Ohio seemed to be picking off particular people. The boys in Columbine or the man at Virginia Tech or the boy in Red Lake didn't seem to care who they shot, they just wanted to kill anyone and everyone.
In all likelihood, it will come out that the Ohio kid was a troubled soul who was in pain and blah, blah, blah. Heartless, right? That "blah, blah, blah" part is heartless, do you think? Right now, the lawyer speaking for the killer's family is saying how distraught and remorseful and upset the kid is, and how his actions could never have been predicted. I don't want it to be so. I want parents and friends and teachers who are paying attention to be able to point to a kid and say, "Yeah, watch that one," so that we don't all wring our hands after the fact that the inexplicable is, in fact, explicable.
More than that, I just want it not to happen. Period. I don't want to hear about yet another shooting at yet another school when each and every morning I send the most precious things to me in the entire world off to those same types of schools with those same types of kids who have that same easy access to guns.