Medford drugstore murder suspect David Laffer in police custody on...

Medford drugstore murder suspect David Laffer in police custody on Wednesday (June 22, 2011) Credit: AP

The frightening thing about David Laffer seems to be how ordinary he appears.

Videotape from the Medford pharmacy shows the man police say is Laffer assassinating two employees, then two customers, before calmly filling a backpack with narcotic painkillers and leaving.

What kind of monster could do this? A drug cartel member, or a career criminal? Maybe just a lunatic, one totally disconnected from social norms?

But Laffer, arrested yesterday in the Father's Day murders, appears to be none of these things. He is married, and his wife, Melinda Brady, was arrested with him. He had a decent work record until recently, military service and an apparently routine life.

Shocked neighbors have recalled Laffer's friendliness, and frolics on the lawn with his nieces and nephews. Laffer's Facebook page describes a hockey player and a big fan of the game.

The couple's 2009 wedding announcement depicted young lovers with the most common of concerns: Blending families, religions and dreams for the future into a marriage.

Were Laffer recognizably deranged, a connection could be made to the horror that was done. That a propensity for violent criminality can so easily masquerade as normalcy is terrifying.

It's too early to know what circumstances or addictions might lead such a person to commit such crimes. It may become clearer soon, but it may never be understood. hN