It's difficult to comprehend the level of anger that would move someone to set a house on fire, knowing it might be occupied.
And it's even more difficult to comprehend when the senseless act of rage results in the tragic death of anyone - let alone an innocent child.
But that's the heartache the Etchison family of Altoona is dealing with after burying their 3-year-old son, D.J., on Tuesday.
As expected, the Myers-Somers Funeral Home was thick with emotion as family members and friends said their final goodbye two weeks after an arson fire claimed the preschooler's life while he slept peacefully.
D.J. Etchison Jr. died at Altoona Regional on Nov. 15 after firefighters pulled him from the burning duplex at 112 S. Second St. in the East End section of Altoona.
The man accused of setting the fire, Aaron Dishong, 62, of East Freedom, allegedly did so because he mistakenly believed an estranged ex-girlfriend was staying with the Etchisons.
D.J.'s mother, Brandy, jumped from a third-story window with her 2-year-old daughter. Both were injured. D.J.'s father, Darrel Sr., was not home at the time.
Dishong remains in Blair County Prison without bail on homicide, arson and other charges and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Wednesday at Central Court.
Two of Blair County's most experienced criminal defense lawyers, Thomas M. Dickey and Steven P. Passarello, have been appointed to represent Dishong because of the possibility that the prosecution will seek a death sentence, according to Blair County President Judge Jolene G. Kopriva.
On one hand, we think it's totally appropriate that the death penalty might be sought for Dishong, if convicted. He has ruined the lives of the Etchisons.
On the other hand, if the charges are proven to be true, in some ways, death would be too good for him.
The unthinkable tragedy has caused some to question their faith.
"It's horrific tragedies like this when we say, 'Why, God? Why? Why?'" Rev. Nate Germany, a pastor at the 18th Street Community Church in Altoona, told the mourners. "But this one ... this one ... this passing away of this 3-year-old and the circumstances involved ... this one had me tossing and turning in my sleep."
Germany told D.J.'s father, "God had no part in this. This was an act of pure evil."
We offer the Etchison family our condolences, and though no verdict will fill the hole in their hearts, we can only hope justice is brought as swiftly as possible.
And that the punishment fits this most sickening crime.