As we face a world with people so monstrously angry that they detonated a huge bomb under the World Trade Center in New York or engaged in a gunbattle that killed federal agents in Texas, let's not go off on an irrational hunt for scapegoats.

We seem to have a need to blame someone beside criminals for crimes that are committed. In the New York matter, people are already casting about claiming that the trade center is at fault for allowing cars in its parking garage, for not having enough backup power to run the elevators when the regular power was disabled. When we must build all of our buildings and conduct all of our lives in a manner so secure that no building and no life can be disrupted by terrorists, the terrorists have already won.The death and destruction in New York was not the fault of anyone except the people or person who planned, planted and detonated the bomb. You can't run a trade center without a garage and people can't visit it unless they can get into it.

In Waco, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms already is being blamed for not having a stronger force and a better game plan when it raided the compound housing David Koresh (a.k.a. Vernon Howell) and his sect, the Branch Davidians, to investigate crimes involving illegal weapons and child abuse. Most of us think that both federal and state governments come on strong enough when they come after something we don't want to give them. For most of us, it is merely money they are after, but passions have been known to rise high enough over mere money to get a great many people killed throughout history.

Much of the scapegoating that takes place after tragedy strikes is initiated by lawyers. There's no sense trying to sue some terrorist group that you don't know, can't find and wouldn't have any money if you ever caught up with them. How much more profitable it is to sue the World Trade Center for its faulty construction and lax supervision, the city of New York and the state of New York for permitting so shabby an enterprise to operate right under their noses. The sound you hear is the rustle of summonses and complaints already being drawn up.

The Branch Davidians obviously had enough money to invest in an impressive display of firepower, and their determination in holding off the feds will elicit some admiration in those who hold the feds in minimal regard, but if you're going to sue someone, the state of Texas and the U.S. government are likely to be juicier targets than the Branch Davidians.

Some good, hard-working and loving people have been killed, some in the line of duty, others just in the normal routine of their working lives. Horror occurs and tragedy strikes in life and it is human nature to cast about for ways in which they might have been prevented. These particular tragedies might have been prevented if all of us had been willing to live in complete police states. We aren't willing to do this, nor to lock up all the loose cannons we see about us in the world in which we live.

Nuts and terrorists we will have with us always; it is essential that we remember to focus on them and not blame the government or the World Trade Center or the guards or anyone else for the acts of the nuts and terrorists. To do otherwise will result only in lives that are more cumbersome, more circumscribed, more regulated and less enjoyable for everyone than the lives we enjoy today.

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