The Bush administration has announced it will shortly convene a school violence summit to discuss possible federal action to help communities prevent violence and deal with its aftermath. Short of placing metal detectors and armed guards in every public and private school in the country it does not appear much can be done to guarantee the safety and security of students from sick minds that look for vulnerable schools to prey upon.
The danger now is that other unstable people will see this horror on television and think they can replicate the carnage in their towns to redress some past grievance or to give themselves a few seconds of significance or notoriety.
People who educate their children at home are likely to think they made the right decision in the face of tragedies like this one. Not even a seemingly safe Amish school can guarantee a child's protection from outside threats. Perhaps in addition to exploring ways to make schools safer, the Bush administration's summit on school violence might also recommend ways to make it easier for parents to educate their children at home. Individual states might join in by giving tax credits for home school parents, since children educated at home do not cost taxpayers money in public schools.
Any analysis has to conclude that life is uncertain and that protection against evil is always problematic. No parent knows what might happen after a child leaves home for school and no child can be protected from every possible threat. But one does not expect something like this to happen in Amish country where education is an extension of the home.