Notwithstanding the personal implications and its centrality to mental health professionals, in my 30 years of teaching and writing about the intersection of psychiatry and law, I had managed to avoid that rite of passage. I was not comfortable and found it difficult to say something original on a topic that has been so extensively explored.
After wading through the initial shock and horror of the murder of 32 students and faculty at Virginia Tech on April 16 by student Seung-Hui Cho, there is a natural impulse to rush to enact laws to prevent this type of tragic event from ever happening again in our schools. As professionals, as parents, as concerned members of a community, we have a felt need for an immediate response to ensure that schools are safe and secure places to learn and grow. Action is demanded. Not only must this opportunity/obligation not be squandered, but we must make sure that by our actions we do not make things worse.