Donald Sensing at Winds of Change notes that "healing" covers a multitude of subjects.
From the beginning, the public utterances of university President Charles Steger's and Police Chief Wendell Flinchum have been sorry spectacles. They have distanced themselves from the events, describing the day as if it had little to do with them personally. It's one thing to demonstrate command of facts, but they have displayed all the personal connection with the mass murders as if describing a close loss of a football game. Certainly, I have seen no evidence that they have even done much soul searching about their decisions and response plans. Frankly, ISTM that they hardly even care much. ...
But hundreds of millions of dollars in lawsuits are sure to follow, anyway. Already, parents are calling for Steger and Finchum to get the boot. Myself, I hope they will have the decency to resign as a matter of principle. No matter how much legal and emotional distance the two men try to put between the killings and themselves, the deeds happened on their watch. Everyone is, of course, talking about "healing" at the university. The departure of Steger and Finchum would be a big part of it.
I've always been fascinated by the concept of "healing" as applied to public tragedies. Healing, it would seem, is what the people in the hospital are doing now. What other "healing" is truly possible must be left to time as memories dim and lives are restarted. But the term as commonly used today seems to describe the suspension of the cognitive faculties, the "time out" after a catastrophe during which survivors are spared intrusive interview requests from tabloids (unless they are offered money in which case it helps the healing) and nominally responsible officials can refuse to answer questions by invoking the need to "heal".
But unless a real effort is made to retain a focus on the issues, the process of "healing" can actually prevent it. The dead may not be brought back to life. But if the lessons learned from their misfortune can be learned, then they may not have died in vain. The RMS Titanic disaster, for example, led to the establishment of an Ice Patrol and altered the lifeboat requirement for oceangoing liners. The "healing" that followed the Columbine school disaster, conferred no such benefits on Virginia Tech. It remains to be seen whether the recent shootings will change anything or whether some similar shooting in the future or a possible terrorist attack on an American campus will occur just as if nothing had been learned.
One approach would be to avoid solutions which tread on 2nd Amendment minefields. As some readers have privately suggested, there are ways to improve security in schools which do not necessarily focus on the prohibition of guns or result in universal armament. Tasers, security doors, fightback drills, police training, etc should be relatively noncontroversial measures. The changes need not be perfect. Just make things better than they were before.