Monitor: The American press reacts to the shootings at Columbine High School

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A SCHOOL is supposed to be a place of security and even tranquillity, yet once again America has witnessed a violent rampage on school grounds. It is shocking to review the long list of school shootings in the past two years. We don't really know what the explanation is and don't care to speculate right now. The moment is too solemn, the blood-letting too extensive for the mind to even grasp. For the time being, our thoughts remain focused solely on those whose lives now will never be the same.

Denver Rocky Mountain News

IT IS not too early to begin drawing lessons. One is that schools must become more adept at spotting potential troublemakers before they resort to gunfire. Another obvious lesson - but one largely forgotten after the shock of last year's spate of school shootings wore off - is the urgent need for concerted action by Congress, state legislatures and gun manufacturers to keep guns out of the hands of troubled youngsters. School shootings had been in decline this year, but yesterday's blasts in Colorado are a grim reminder that guns are still too readily available.

The New York Times

SOME LATE reports suggest that the killers were on a suicide mission against minorities and athletes. Whoever the targets might be, the truth is that public schools simply cannot be fortresses from the world that surrounds them.

Students are inevitably left vulnerable to the anomalous acts that erupt outside the normal patterns of crime and violence. That's no comfort after a day of savage killing. But amid so much sorrow, what comfort can there be?

USA Today

YESTERDAY, IN Colorado, two gunmen stormed a suburban high school, firing down hallways with automatic weapons, murdering and wounding a score of terrified students. In Tallahassee, Gov Jeb Bush signed into law a bill relaxing Florida's feeble restraints on firearms. In the face of horrific carnage, politicians stand all too ready to embrace laws that encourage the availability and accessibility of firearms.

Miami Herald