Too Soon For Blame And Debate?

Almost as soon as the first story went up about the Virginia Tech massacre, the comments section was filled with people angrily debating the merits – or lack thereof – of gun control. Some presidential candidates have already made statements about the issue, including John McCain, who "said the shooting rampage does not change his view that the Constitution guarantees everyone the right to carry a weapon." At the White House today, spokesperson Dana Perino declined to address reporters' questions about whether the incident would lead to a change in gun control policy, saying it was a day to "focus on the families, the school and the community."

On the "Evening News" last night, meanwhile, anchor Katie Couric raised questions about the university's handling of the incident. She was far from alone. As the AP noted, "tough questions swiftly surfaced as to how effectively Virginia Tech authorities responded to Monday's horrific massacre." The story quotes a student saying "I think the university has blood on their hands because of their lack of action after the first incident."

Gun control and Virginia Tech's handling of the incident are certainly issues that need to be explored, but I have to wonder if they need to be explored so soon after the tragedy. We just learned the identity of the suspect, and investigators are still trying to piece together what happened; at this point, we do not even know the identities of all the victims. I understand reporters' desire to push forward the story, but we will have plenty of time in the future to debate gun control and assign blame. For today, at least, isn't it enough to focus on the horrible tragedy that just took place and not the recriminations and debate surrounding it?