I can't imagine what it must be like to be a student or faculty at Virginia Tech this week. I saw a professor talking on CNN about one of the professors who died. He said what a great person and colleague he was, and that they both had daughters the same age. Sometimes I think that's all we know to do when confronted with tragedy - realize how similar the victims are to us. That person is so much like me, except they were touched by this unspeakable tragedy and I was not. It makes life seem random and unfair. It reminds us how much we all share. Maybe it brings us closer to real community, where we feel each other's pain and joy.
I wonder, too, how close we are to the perpetrator? What, before yesterday, made Cho Seung Hui different from any of us? What could possibly drive someone to do something so horrible? Is it possible that you or I could be driven to that point as well?
ADDENDUM: since I wrote this post, I've been thinking about the Sufjan Stevens song "John Wayne Gacy Jr." which makes a similar point, but more subtly. "And in my best behavior I am really just like him/look underneath the floorboards for the secrets I have hid."