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Why are we even shocked by what happened in Arizona?
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There is evil in the world.

Always has been. And probably always will be.

What makes the latest round of instant analysis on the air waves, on the Internet and at the water cooler a bit troublesome is how we all seem to want to find a convenient bogey man to blame unspeakable horror that man commits against man. Of course, the correct bogey man is one that fits perfectly into our political views.

Brazen killings aren’t an American invention nor are they only a modern-day phenomenon.

The tragedy in Arizona is being painted as a horror on the national stage because the victims included a federal judge, a congresswoman, and a political aide. The cry and hue would not have been nearly as loud had it simply been six average folks. That had to do with the stature of the victims.

But instead of trying to argue whether heated political rhetoric had anything to do with the tragedy perhaps everyone should focus in on what they are doing - or not doing - in terms of darkening the world.

About six years ago in an organized exercise class that consisted of all women except for myself, the instructor had a rap recording within the mix of music. About half way through the exercise routine I started listening to the words. They included outright references to rape, violence and generally treating women like chattel and worse.

Afterwards, I went up to her and asked if she ever listened to the words of the music she played. Her reply was that the words didn’t matter. It was the beat that was important.

Words do matter.

If day in and day out we are bombarded nonstop with violence and dehumanization of others whether it is TV, Internet, video games or whatever it will ultimately have an impact.

That’s not to say it is the catalyst to send someone on a killing rampage. What it does though is deaden us all to interacting with others as well as making it fashionable to demean, taunt, and bully.

Again, none of that is new to mankind but what is relatively rare in terms of the annals of civilization is to the extent we allow it to be so pervasive.

Cheapen life enough and it will become cheap.

It is weakening the collective consciousness and growing apart as technology brings us closer together.

The Arizona shooting suspect scared a lot of people apparently. But nothing was done to try to intervene. Perhaps it is lax laws. Perhaps it is putting individual rights - even those who are mentally ill if that is the case - above those of society. Perhaps it is indifference.

That is not to say someone else is to blame for the gunman’s action. But if we want to blame politicians on the left, right, center, or whatever somehow for their rhetoric tipping the scales toward violence then we’d better start blaming a lot of other people.

Violence isn’t exactly a lost art on TV, in the movies, in music, or in video games. We have allowed violence to spread in such mediums because we have collectively supported it with our pocketbooks.

When all is said and done and if Jared Lee Loughner is found guilty of pulling the trigger then he holds full blame for his actions.

We discourage government intervention such as mandatory psych holds on troubled individuals who have a track record of threatening others with impulsive behavior yet we have no problem clamoring for laws to contain the behavior of sane citizens.

What is happening is a complete capitulation of trying to strike a balance between individual rights of the mentally ill and the collective right of the community.

At the same time the anything-goes attitude of society that finds it acceptable for teens raised in a culture that glorifies violence and rape in music and film to shoot other teens, why are we surprised when a troubled individual goes beyond killing an average person and guns down a federal judge and congresswoman?