Teachers and students at the Regina high school that experienced a terrifying gun incident four years ago held a moment of prayer Monday for victims of the Connecticut shooting.
On Friday, a 20-year-old man fatally shot 26 people at a Newtown, CT, elementary school — 20 of them young school children — before killing himself.
Today, Mark Anderson, the principal of Luther High School in Regina, was expressing sorrow for those victims.
But he was also thinking about the day in September, 2008 when he struggled with an armed teenager in the Luther gymnasium while hundreds watched in terror.
The 16-year-old, who had been expelled after sending unwanted emails to a female, held teachers and students hostage for more than an hour before Anderson intervened, grappling with the boy until police moved in and arrested him.
Although nobody was hurt in Regina, Anderson told CBC News that memories rushed back when he learned of Friday's deadly shooting in Newtown.
"I mean, there was a loss of lives. Young lives. Vulnerable lives," he said. "The human capacity to sort through that rationally is challenged because it goes beyond anything we can expect, or anything we can explain."
Anderson says there's no way to prepare — one can never know how to act in such situations.
It's not easy trying to make sense out of why someone would do what the man in Newtown did, he said.
"I think of that famous line in the Batman movie where he says 'There's some people that just want to see the world burn,'" Anderson said.
"We have to remember there are people out there who are so selfish, or so misguided, or so off their rocker that they're willing to hurt others to make a point."
Anderson says his school reviewed its emergency plan after the Luther incident.
In 2009, the youth was sentenced to six months of electronic monitoring and 18 months of probation.