THE random nature of yesterday’s killings in Cumbria is what makes them so chilling.

It appears that Derrick Bird’s spree was triggered by something within his taxi rank, but the vast majority of his victims were people whom he had never clapped eyes on before. As he drove around for four hours, he spared some people but shot others – a 60- year-old woman doing her shopping, a farmer mending his fence.

Our thoughts are with his victims’ families, whose lives have been inexplicably and irretrievably turned upside down.

Our thoughts are also with 52-yearold Bird’s elderly mother, who must be absolutely distraught that the son she has brought up has been capable of committing such evil.

And our thoughts are with the whole Cumbrian community, which was devastated by winter floods, was shocked by last week’s bus crash – the funeral of Chloe Walker, who was killed on her 16th birthday, was held yesterday only miles from Bird’s rampage – and now somehow has to come to terms with this.

There are no consolations this morning, but such sprees are incredibly rare and people should not be scared to leave their homes on the remote off-chance they could become a victim.

Because such sprees are so rare, it is not possible to legislate to prevent them.

There will be calls for tougher controls on guns. It is right that Cumbrian Police look at all angles, learn all lessons and tighten up where necessary.

But a kneejerk response will never prevent such a reasonless bout of random killing.