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There simply is no sufficient defense against individuals who are afflicted by a variety of derangements and engage in violent antisocial acts, often with deadly and tragic victimization of innocent individuals. We have had a rash of them in recent days.

* The worst occurred in Binghamton, N.Y., last Friday. A killer identified as a Vietnamese immigrant barricaded the back door of a civic center with his car. He then entered a room where immigrants were involved in a citizenship class. He unleashed a fusillade of gunfire - killing 13 people before he committed suicide.

* In Pittsburgh, Pa., a gunman wearing a bulletproof vest and armed with three guns lay in wait for police officers who were responding to a domestic disturbance call. He shot three police officers to death and held other officers at bay for four hours before he was captured, suffering legs wounds.

* In Graham, Wash., a man shot his five children, ages 7 to 16, to death in their mobile home, most of them in their beds, and then killed himself.

These were surely not the only such random acts of irrational violence throughout our country in recent days, but were just among the worst. Some involved domestic problems. Some are beyond explanation.

In our large society there inevitably are individuals suffering real and fancied frustrations and emotions that drive some of them beyond self-control, beyond rational behavior, resulting in death and damage to their families, strangers and the police officers who seek to maintain safety and order for us all.

We live in a dangerous world in which a few people may inflict terrible injustices upon the many. Sometimes there may be warning signs that call for disengagement. Sometimes there are no warnings at all. Our only defense, inadequate though it may be, is to be alert to any signs that may suggest violence, to disengage if possible, and to call for our unselfish police officers to face the possible danger.

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