We can no more control or predict when a shooting like the one that happened in Newtown, Conn., will happen than we can predict where lightning will strike.
On Friday, 20 children and six adults at an elementary school were shot dead in cold blood before the shooter, an obscure 20-year-old who'd just murdered his mother, took his own life.
We may never know what possessed Adam Lanza to do what he did. Looking back over a year that saw 13 different shootings that claimed the lives of roughly 75 innocents, motives are as varied as the shooters. In some instances, there is something people can see, a confrontation, or some mental defect, or something in the way of explanation.
It doesn't make it any easier to accept that this is something that we must live with.
After the Columbine attack in 1999, officials began to review security procedures all over the nation.
Before Columbine, you never heard about active shooter drills; now we have them regularly.
We believe parents will demand an increase in security at schools in an effort to keep their children safe.
A complex series of factors go into a tragedy like this. We can try to limit access to public places, provide armed guards, fortify the doors, investigate the effect of behavior-altering drugs or discuss reducing access to military-style weapons.
While we know we will never be able to rid the world of evil, being proactive and addressing mental health issues on the front end can save lives, whether walking someone back from the brink of suicide or intervening when someone has made threats to harm others.