You know how the blogosphere feels like a small world? You surf around and find a brand new, very engaging blog, only to find that the blogger is blogrolling some of your blogging friends? Well, academia is a lot like that, too. It's a small world. And the longer you work in academia, the smaller the world gets.
I have friends who graduated from Virginia Tech. I know people who've worked there. I am probably one degree of separation away from many people who are working there right now. I've probably sat next to some of them at conferences.
So as the reality of the tragedy there has been unfolding in the press today, I have felt it on a very personal level. I hear about their students, but I see my students. I read about their campus, but I think about my campus. They are different, of course. But, really, they are the same.
My heart and mind are with everyone at Virginia Tech tonight. They are us. We are them.