This was just a comment on Facebook in reply to someone’s flailing calls for action. I didn’t think it was very noteworthy, and I’ve said similar things before, but someone else asked for permission to repost it, so I guess it’s good enough to put up on a blog.
I think the psychological hurdle is that people want to do something right now! And there’s very little that can be done right now! If you want to help catch the guy, you need to have joined the FBI already, which means many years of schooling and related experience. If you want to help those who are injured directly, you need to already be working in the medical profession, which means many years of schooling and experience. And even then – the entire country can’t JUST be law enforcement and medical professionals. They need a whole infrastructure of builders, farmers, factory workers, inventors, store-keepers, truck-drivers, (and yes even accountants) to support them and keep society running. So in the long run, the best thing you can do is to be useful to society in some way.
But that doesn’t feel very fulfilling. The best that can be done immediately and directly by 99.9% of everyone is to give blood, and donate money to responder organizations.