Even as the small Minnesota town of Waseca (population 10,000) reckons with a potential mass murderer, the details of how
police caught John LaDue before the teenager could bomb and shoot up a high school, the episode offers a lesson in communal vigilance, emblematic of how one watchful person had the power and wherewithal to stop a national tragedy, says the Christian Science Monitor. “This case is a classic example of citizens doing the right thing and calling the police when things seem out of place,” the Waseca Police Department said.
Local resident Chelsie Schellhas was washing dishes Tuesday when she saw a tall blond man with a backpack walking through backyards, holding a bag of fast food. She kept watching as he entered a MiniMax storage facility, and struggled to open the door of a storage locker. Inside, she could see bags of trash. She called 911. Criminologists say foiled plots like this one underscore l findings that communities and individuals have the power to stop potential mass killers, even when mass violence writ large often seems random, arbitrary and senseless. “The horrific consequences of mass murder are what drive concern for prevention even when it is recognized that these events are likely to be very difficult to predict or prevent,” writes John Klofas, a Rochester Institute of Technology criminologist, in a white paper for the Center for Public Safety Initiatives. “The mathematical reality, however, does not limit the responsibility for continuously seeking ways to reduce the potential for such events in one's own community.”