A fourteen year old boy shot and killed a thirteen year old girl Friday, here in the affluent Western suburbs of Richmond, Virginia.

Thirteen. Fourteen.

There’s a child dead, another child whose life is, for all intents and purposes, over. Do the races, religions, sexual orientations, or any other marker we use to characterize human beings matter?

If you want further evidence of the dysfunctionality of our time, consider that one of the dead girl’s classmates, a girl I’ve known since she was a toddler, made a suicide attempt last fall. Unsuccessful. Still.

Explanations, analyses, commentaries on cable news channels, Congressional testimony won’t change a damn thing. How much money should we throw at these problems? Members of the intellectual/professional class might get grants to research violence among children, but none of them can resuscitate the dead.

Let’s stop thinking we are one published paper, one drug patent, one comprehensive law away from Utopia. ‘Cause we ain’t.