Falwell warned parents that there are "diabolic forces yearning to seduce and destroy your children." He made no mention of guns, hatred or intolerance.

In contrast, the most sensible response I've heard came from Kirkwood High School principal Franklin McCallie, who slam-dunked my initial reaction, which was that the school killings were all about random sickness and thus impossible to defend against.

"We can do something about this," McCallie insisted to me. "We can listen to our kids at school, and get to know them and let them know that we care. We don't have to sit back and wait for something bad to happen. We can make a difference with these kids."

McCallie went on and on about his school's six walking counselors and about how he and his staff will seek out the kids having lunch by themselves and the ones having problems in or out of the classroom. And when they can't connect with a troubled kid, they'll hear about brewing problems because of their relationships with other students.

That may be a bit idealistic, especially because we don't have a Franklin McCallie in every school, but at least his approach is proactive and on point.

And it doesn't ignore grim realities of the human condition that have been with us for quite a while.

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