The unexpected -- how often we are taken aback by things we never saw coming.

A deadly fire in Rhode Island. Not all that unlike a similar disaster just four days earlier in Chicago. The crash of the shuttle Columbia just two weeks prior to that.

So many numbing events in so little time.

They seem to happen so fast, it's as if we can't catch our breath, before we catch the next horror, the next shocker, the next nightmare.

Maybe it's just me, but we used to be able to space these things out. I can remember months of soul-searching after the Challenger blew up. I covered that story and it seemed to linger longer.

Not so for the Columbia. No sooner were we grasping the dimensions of that calamity, then we were onto another one -- war.

And then heightened terror alerts.

And then blizzards.

And then nightclub fires.

The unexpected, but at a pace that seems all too expected.

All of this is a by-product of the post-Sept. 11 world, where we fear the worst and happily settle if it's just "worse."

I heard one parent in Rhode Island talking about how she was frantically looking for her son after hearing of the fire. She found him -- thank God -- and said, "I just hugged him as tight as I could."

"You just never know," she said.

No you don't. But you do appreciate that loved one as you're trying to figure it all out and you hug even tighter.

Watch Neil Cavuto's Common Sense weekdays at 4 p.m. ET on Your World w/Cavuto.