My thoughts and prayers go out to those at Virginia Tech having to deal with unspeakable tragedy.
I cannot pretend to imagine what it must be like for a university to lose so many of its community in one day.
I remember going out to dinner with my wife on a spring evening eight years ago. We were in an Irish pub in East Boston. The television in the bar was showing footage of a horrible massacre in Littleton, Colorado, at the local Columbine High School.
I was in my last year of residency, and I was working on a free-form elective rotation, looking at firearm injuries, where and how they were occurring, and different ways to address the problem: office counseling, community education, product design, legislative efforts, and such.
I remember saying to my wife that this country has a choice. We can sharply reduce the probability of another such event happening, but it would require a political turnaround, implementation and enforcement of strict gun regulations, and a massive grassroots clamor saying "enough is enough." Or we can continue to hold high our right to bear arms, our right to armed self-defense and recreation, realizing that events like this may be the price that we periodically pay for that freedom.
This is the choice we have made, and we must reluctantly acknowledge its occasional and tragic consequences. Let us express our sympathy, our condolences, our anger at this event. But let us not be so naive as to be shocked or indignant, both now and when it inevitably happens again.