Some might have considered the Friday morning lockdown of two Phenix City schools an excess of caution. No doubt the indescribable relief of some parents, after the all-clear was given, was followed by resentment at having been so frightened in the first place.
Anybody with children can understand.
But there were good reasons why Friday's tragic double killing in Columbus, which police say appears to have been a murder-suicide, set off alarms -- literal and figurative -- in Phenix City.
The first and most compelling reason is that immediately after the violent attack in the parking lot of the Columbus Department of Public Health, Phenix City school officials learned that the female victim's son was enrolled at Phenix City Intermediate School - and that the suspect in her killing, her estranged husband, had permission to check the child out of school.
As if those facts weren't enough for concern (and surely they were), there was also the possibility that the suspect in the shooting might have had a relationship with a Central High School student.
The alerts were lifted as soon as those in charge were assured the situation no longer posed a threat. As with all such situations (and, sad to say, there are too many of them), it's easy to argue in hindsight that there was never any danger.
But given what was known Friday afternoon, there was absolutely no reasonable way to shrug off the possibility of further danger. Under the circumstances, an "excess" of caution is preferable to what could be an unspeakable alternative.
It's generally agreed that challengers to Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley's reelection face long odds at best. So three of them are bringing back a campaign plank of the last Democrat to win an Alabama governor's race -- and one of the three is a Republican.
Democrats Parker Griffith of Huntsville and Kevin Bass of Fayette, as well as Republican Stacy Lee George, are proposing a state lottery to raise money for education.
The lottery issue has a curious history in Alabama. Don Siegelman ran his 1998 gubernatorial campaign on the lottery, and won. Guest of honor at his inauguration was Zell Miller, who had authored the lottery-HOPE program in Georgia.
Then, when the lottery itself came to a vote, it failed at the polls, defeated in large part with money from gambling interests in other states.
Bentley said he would not fight legislation that would allow voters to decide, but added, "I don't think gambling is the way to fund education."
He's right. If a lottery were a tax, it would be the most regressive tax on earth. Only the technicality that it's voluntary alters that assessment.
The problem Alabama faces, as always, is whether anybody has a workable idea for adequately funding education any other way.