I hardly know how to write about this.
Four of our students died last weekend, in a particularly awful and terrifying way. They were freshmen, just beginning their second semester, still in their teens. I didn't know them. I'm sure many of my students did. It is a small college and a small community.
In some ways, it feels like this is not my tragedy to talk or write about. I didn't know what to say in class; I don't, of course, miss them in the way that so many of the students and professors on our campus miss them.
At least one of them would have been my student sooner or later, given her major. In a year or two or three -- I don't know and never will know exactly when -- I will teach a Shakespeare class that would have been slightly different in character, because the presence or absence of even one student changes the temperament of a class just a little.
There are so many would have beens; so much potential. I've just been thinking about how young eighteen or nineteen is, and how hard it is to guess who our freshmen will become. Their families and friends have lost the girls they knew; the rest of us, perhaps, have lost the women we will not know. And for that reason, no mind that's honest but in it shares some woe.