The killing of more than 30 people and wounding of at least 30 at Virginia Tech on Monday leaves many shocked and relatively speechless. Regrettably, some are not as speechless as one would hope.As the scale of the rampage became evident, the ghastly scenes emerging from Virginia struck knowing eyes in Colorado, which have seen this before: grim SWAT teams leaving a blood-spattered school, the stunned and saddened face of officialdom trying to speak about the inexplicable, white ambulances with red lights waiting beside the bright-green grass of spring to carry off the dead and dying.
The shooting had barely stopped before commentators in the blogosphere began wrapping the event in their own world views for rhetorical purposes. People lambasted the National Rifle Association, or, alternatively, rebuked proponents of gun control.
One side said America's pro-gun culture provides too-easy access to deadly weapons. Another responds that if guns were legal on campus, someone would have shot the killer, thus saving lives. A third says America kills far more innocent people in Iraq every day, and where's the outrage over that? And don't forget the Hollywood liberals' glorification of sex and violence, yet another opines.
Beneath the bombast, each of these observers might have an actual point. But as the discourse flips into the stratosphere, it becomes progressively less germane, right now, to where we are and what we know. There is a time and place for robust political debate. Surely, the appropriate time is after the blood is fully dried.
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Now, it suffices to say that this tragedy is deeply saddening. It should not be asking too much to hope that the nation could shelve its partisan divisions long enough to agree on that.
In the White House Monday, President Bush said, "Schools should be places of safety and sanctuary and learning. When that sanctuary is violated, the impact is felt in every American classroom and every American community." This is true.
In the coming days and weeks, much will no doubt be said of the gunman, the university, the warning signs and the lessons. For now, it is enough to note that once again - for perhaps nothing saner than "I don't like Mondays" - there is mourning in spring.
Clint Talbott, for the editorial board
© 2006 Daily Camera and Boulder Publishing, LLC.