First is that psychos can strike anywhere. Life is just too complicated to assume that crazed madmen only attack from a seedy looking alleyway at night in a known dangerous part of a rundown city.
During a conversation with my father a few days ago, he made a remark along those lines, that attacks mainly happen at night, and that that's really the only time you need to concern yourself with self defense. I disagreed, but not entirely. Most attacks do happen at night, but sometimes life throws curve balls. Plan accordingly. Your greatest weapon for self defense is not a gun, but your mind. As Col Jeff Cooper so famously noted, a proper mindset will protect you far better than anything, and it shouldn't be on a timetable. Always keep your mindset.
With that, some of the people in the fitness center recognized the danger for what it was, and made their way out safely. Some didn't recognize the danger, and were injured or killed, and some may or may not have recognized anything, and it didn't matter one way or the other. There are no guarantees.
This statement stood out:
"I don't think anyone could have stopped him,"That's probably true.
I'm sure there are folks out there scouring the internet to see if the building had a "Gun Free Zone" sign at the door, and ridicule of such instruments may be warranted in due time, but I don't think it matters one bit. Tell me that even you most hardcore tactical types would be carrying in a gym? I'm sure that a select few of you who workout in gyms may carry a little pistol in a fanny pack or such, but be honest, you wouldn't be wearing it in a dance class would you? How about if you were taking a boxing or martial arts class?
You can't always be armed, or be in a position to stop something like this. Sometimes stuff happens.
The last thing I notice is that the shooting took "about a minute," which was not enough time for the cops to show up and stop the gunman. A minute is not really enough time for anyone to have done anything under the circumstances, other than haul ass out the door. It doesn't appear that the gunman encountered any resistance, so I think it's unusual that he killed himself when he did. Normally scumbags shoot themselves when the cops show up.
I'm sure that there will be lots and lots of stupid conversation amongst the media in the wake of this attack. Really, I don't see how it could have been prevented before or during the attack. It was one of life's curve balls.
Update: It seems that the lunatic gunman had been telegraphing his intent for many months on his blog. Go check out David Codrea's Gun Rights Examiner for a look at the kind of stuff the man was writing about, if you're interested.
I am still solidly convinced that some well intentioned law would not have done anything to stop this. Perhaps if somebody had read his blog and recognized that the guy was a violent psycho than maybe there would have been a chance.