I learned this afternoon that one of the people killed in the Virginia Tech massacre was the son of a friend of mine.
The knowledge left me stunned and horrified, because now I don't just picture some abstract person when I think of the families and friends of those who died -- I picture my friend and his wife. I can put a face on suffering, and it chills me.
I never knew the man who died, but I got glimpses of him from his father's comments in the occasional email or bit of conversation. I know his father was proud of him. I know his death leaves a hole in many people's lives.
It hurts to think of how my friend will suffer from this -- just as so many others will suffer. Some will never recover.
Thinking about how many will hurt because of those killed and injured makes me think about all the violent deaths throughout the world every day, and how many people each one of those deaths affects. Juan Cole writes today that double the number of people killed at Virginia Tech die in Iraq every day. Every time a human being is murdered, a life is cut short; every time many other people mourn; every time there are those whose lives will never be the same.
I don't have answers today. I just hurt for my friend and all the others who lost those they loved.