As many of you, I have watched details roll in after violent, intentional tragedies. My perspective has been as a mother and a journalist. Possibly this means my perspective has been as an excessively emotional journalist.
My children were 5 and 7 when Columbine happened. I was in a newsroom, trying to focus on editing something, and I heard a student's mother on television describe being sent to an auditorium where the children would gather as they were evacuated from the campus.
She talked about the parents waiting hopefully, realizing they were the last, and understanding what that meant.
That's the part that haunts me. The whole thing is painful to know, but as a parent, I can't shake that part of the story.
This morning I listened to a Connecticut mother describe a similar scene, seeing the parents' faces as police broke the news. It rips my heart out. Surely I couldn't survive that.
Every year after Columbine, I kept my children home on April 20. I was afraid of copycat massacres.
My husband, a teacher, objected to this. He said I was making a holiday out of the tragedy.
There is so much about responding to mass killings that requires a delicate balance. Emotions run strong, and so, it seems, does the inclination to judge other people's responses.
Among the standby stones to throw is that the media share the blame by shining fame on the bad guys.
It's possible this is a factor, but I argue that respectful, non-exploitative coverage is appropriate, and knowledge is power.
I hope publicizing these massacres decreases people's inclination to dismiss comments or behavior that may be a sign.
After a mass killing, it's awful to hear that the shooter/bomber said something, bought something or posted something that should have been reported.
Further, I believe coverage of school shootings creates a demand for tighter security measures and having faculty trained for situations like this. I get that there's not a lot a lone adult can do when there's an armed mentally ill person in the room, but I'm an advocate for teachers' being as prepared as can be.
Isn't every parent asking what their school will do to prevent something like this happening again? Happening here? Let's not just cry about it; let's cry about it and then have a discussion about what would help.
But don't let's skip the crying together. I believe people have a natural need to hold on to one another when news makes them emotional. Whether it's from overwhelming joy or sadness, I notice people gather.
I know when I first learned of Oklahoma City, Virginia Tech, Sept. 11, Aurora and Sandy Hooks, I immediately wanted human contact. I go into that we're-all-in-this-together mood where I don't mind holding a stranger's hand.
In an article on Friday's shooting from The Onion, most of which I couldn't quote, they have a mock related story: "It's OK to just start talking to people you don't know."
Thank you, Onion.
People are doing just that, really, reaching out through social media. I'm seeing tweets from people announcing their pain, condolences and prayers - not to turn the spotlight on themselves, as I saw one Facebook post accuse, but to connect.
One post expressed guilt over relaxing for a moment and laughing.
I'm telling you true, it all comes down to finding a balance.
The Onion article also featured a caption saying it's OK to spend the rest of the day in the fetal position under your desk.
Good. Because I am an excessively emotional editor today.
Reach Toni via email, call her at 909-793-3221, or find her on Twitter @ToniMomberger.