If you’re like millions of other people across the globe, you ended July 17 with feelings of grief and horror and perhaps just a tinge of fear because of the downing of the Malaysian Airlines passenger plane over Ukrainian farmland.

We cannot begin our normal work day this morning without acknowledging yesterday’s horrifying development and sending our thoughts and prayers to the families and friends of the nearly 300 people who perished in such a shocking and barbaric manner yesterday.

 Investigators are trying to determine whether this was the work of pro-Russia separatists in the Ukraine and whether whoever perpetrated this act realized that they were attacking a passenger plane.  It is possible that the rebels mistook it for a military jet.

We do not yet have the number of Americans on board, but it is feared that as many as 23 Americans are among the dead. We can do no better than to quote Speaker John Boehner’s briefest of statements on this grim development:

Many innocents were killed today.  It is horrifying, and we await the facts.  Right now, we should all take a moment to reflect, count our blessings, and convey our prayers to the loved ones of the victims.

The New York Post had a report on some of the people on the plane whose lives were cut short yesterday. The political ramifications and possible culpability of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin are not yet known.

It is impossible to mention yesterday’s barbarism without taking note of President Obama’s strangely detached reaction that sent gasps through the lobby of a hotel in Denver where guests were watching him.

The sadness last night was, as I noted, mixed with a tinge of fear. The downing of the plane, in addition to being a human catastrophe for those more directly involved, gives us a feeling that the world is beset by one disaster after another.

We can at least hope, as Max Boot does, that this barbaric act will bring us a moment of moral clarity. Meanwhile, our hearts go out to those whose lives ended yesterday and others whose lives will never be the same.