It is considered insular (and selfish and alarmist) to always look inwards at each and every event in the world, and wonder what if it happened to you or yours. But the gruesome massacre at Virginia Tech does precisely that.
What if a crazed gunman, touch wood, what if a crazed guinman, student or otherwise, entered our nurseries, montessoris, schools, colleges, Universities, campuses, and hostels?
1) How many fit and able and real “security” men will he meet on our campuses, who have the physical, mental or technical wherewithal to stop him in his tracks?
2) How many closed circuit cameras and alarms and public address systems have our institutions installed to help spot action of this nature before it gets out of hand?
3) How many of our institution have a running hotline with the nearest police station so that they can respond in time to deal with situations of this nature?
4) How many of our police officers have the expertise to deal with shooters and shootouts?
5) If it occurs in the wee hours of the morning, it is one thing. But how long will it take for the first ambulance or fire brigade to make its way through our congested roads to reach the scene of the crime?
6) How many of our schools, colleges and institutions have installed metal detectors and fire extinguishers and water sprinklers that are working 24 x 7? How many staffers are trained in first aid or have dispensaries close at hand?
7) If it happens on a large campus, how many of our institutions have email facilities to inform every student? And how many of them even maintain cell phone directories of all students to send a mass SMS?
8) How long will it take for our institutions with their archaic documentation systems to find out who are the victims and who is the victimiser?
9) How many of our teachers and lecturers and professors will try to shield their students, like one of the teachers at Virginia Tech did?
10) How many of our institutions have the counselling facilities to put disturbed young minds at rest?
11) Do we have the means to trace where the weapon was procured?
12) Are our faculty smart enough to spot disturbing behaviour in their overcrowded classes like one of the faculty at Virginia Tech did?
Questions, questions, questions. The answers, sadly, are few.