Yesterday's shootings at Virginia Tech may never be properly understood. In so many ways, there's no understanding the coalescence of factors that created that shooter, now identified as Cho Seung-Hui, a dorm resident and English major. What makes someone snap, and moreover, what makes someone snap in a particular way so that he or she (usually he) decides several people must die in the process?
It's quite true we have a violent video game culture, yet nearly all people who play those games (let's say about 99.99%) understand they're playing a game, and while some may become desensitized to violence, they don't turn into killers themselves.
It's quite true that our gun culture -- from the fanatic NRA, to right wing talk radio, to our movies and television products -- valorizes the gunslinger, yet nearly all of the people who watch "24" or some cop show aren't going out to turn themselves into Travis Bickle.
I'm just guessing that the above two factors will be much discussed in the coming weeks. Michael Moore dissected the latter in his excellent Bowling for Columbine. Let's just say we have a culture that facilitates violent acts, should one be so inclined. But what, in the end, makes one so inclined?
There is no effective explanation for the men and women who were murdered by this student, for their parents, their classmates, their lovers. There is nothing but memory's torn fabric and futures left unlived.
I can't say how horrible this makes me feel.