In the wake of the Virginia Tech bloodbath, beefed-up security on U.S. college campuses might seem a reasonable response.
Such reaction, however, won't garner support from Dane Blue, an Indiana University South Bend student.
"You're not going to have turrets at every corner of campus," said the junior, who lives in Elkhart.
And though some post-secondary educational facilities in the area are taking another look at their crisis-management plans, officials at the schools express a measure of certainty that, by and large, they're already doing what they can to assure safety.
"We actually feel we're in good shape as far as emergency response," said Tracie Davis, spokeswoman for Ivy Tech Community College, which has campuses in Elkhart, Warsaw and South Bend.
Richard Aguirre, Goshen College's public relations director, said in the wake of the Virginia shootings, officials there intend to conduct a "run-through" of their crisis-management plan on May 1, repeating the drill every semester. Nonetheless, he also notes that there's only so much colleges can do to deter someone bent on violence.
Monday's massacre, which left 33 dead, including the apparent gunman, was "so off the scale that I don't think any campus could have prepared or prevented something like this," said Aguirre. "Who could prevent something like that?"
Similarly, Blue, who's helping organize a vigil today at IUSB for the Tech victims and their families, touted steps to better identify problematic students over simply boosting security. News reports Tuesday indicated that the suspected Tech gunman had become increasingly violent and erratic and had been suffering from depression.
"You've got to come at it at a different angle and give these people another means to (address) their frustrations," said Blue.
As word spread Monday of the bloodshed in Virginia, the reaction was particularly strong among officials at area colleges.
"I would say the whole campus, including myself, was shocked and horrified and just heartsick about what happened there," said Ken Baierl, an IUSB spokesman. "It's very troubling and disturbing for us."
Likewise, it has been a hot topic of conversation at internal meetings at schools as they discuss what comes next.
"Like everybody else, we'd be foolish if we didn't try to learn from this terrible episode," said Don Wycliff, spokesman for the University of Notre Dame.
For instance, question marks have emerged over the apparent delay by Tech officials in spreading word about Monday's violence, and that figured in an internal discussion Tuesday at Mishawaka's Bethel College. Tech students didn't learn of a pair of shootings early Monday that preceded the broader killing spree until about two hours after the fact.
"What's the best way to contact students in case of emergency?" said Shawn Holtgren, associate dean of students at Bethel. He said the college already planned to install a campuswide system enabling officials to quickly communicate with students via loudspeaker if need be, but that Monday's events "absolutely accentuate the need" for such change.
At Ivy Tech, where parking issues typically top the list of security concerns, Davis doesn't see any grand changes in store. Classes there are small and familial and instructors usually have a solid handle on any problems, academic or otherwise, their students may be encountering.
At IUSB, however, with new dorms capable of housing 400 to open in the fall of 2008, Baierl said security matters are getting more and more scrutiny.
"When you add a residential element to your campus, it affects everything," he said.
Contact Tim Vandenack at firstname.lastname@example.org.