Writing in Opinion Journal, Peggy Noonan convincingly makes the case that “We’re Scaring Our Children to Death,” among many other instances, with respect to the nationwide, primetime airing of tapes mailed to NBC by the Virginia Tech slaughterer.

Noonan’s point leaves one heavy of heart: “We are not giving the children of our country a stable platform. We are instead giving them a soul-shaking sense that life is unsafe, incoherent, full of random dread.”

No excuses here – no punches pulled. Says Noonan: “[F]or all our protestations about how sensitive we are, how interested in justice, how interested in the children, we are not. We are interested in politics. We are interested in money. We are interested in ourselves.”

There is much truth, I fear, in Noonan’s commentary. But, for example, with respect to the airing of the shooter’s tapes, the adult public also has a right to be privy to even appalling information about life-threatening persons. To know how the latter think and behave, and what motivates them, can help citizens to recognize such madness and better defend themselves against it.

We must preserve the right and need for adults to know about these terrible matters while finding ways to protect children from psychological harm because of premature exposure to them.