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As a global community, it seems we still don’t get it.

Perhaps it emanates from some compelling need to place blame after tragic acts such as the Feb. 14 shooting in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 dead and more injured. We spend endless time dissecting the minutia so we can distance ourselves from the reality of what society has become — what we hear every day on the streets, see at political rallies and read online.

The massacre at Parkland and the unfortunately long list of similar acts show just how increasingly intolerant and violent this nation is becoming. By putting on a mask of rhetorical anger, we try to convince others the motives are noble: To take back something perceived as lost; to speak out for some imagined wrong; to draw attention to some demon that must be excised.

Most people will never go to the extreme of harming another. Maybe it’s that we need to distance ourselves from such actions if we are to find solace and the strength to keep going from day to day. If we convince ourselves something that happened three thousand miles away to a school  could not happen to us, then there’s less need to feel scared.

These are frightening times, though, and there is nowhere safe from a madman’s grip.

There is a false comfort in attributing a cause to things that sometimes are nothing more than the manifestation of some twisted individual’s dark, clouded mind. Groups promoting gun restrictions blamed guns. 

Shame on those who try to compartmentalize tragedy.

Gunman Nikolas Cruz, 19, indiscriminately fired into his former school before surrendering.

Hate begets hate, and it appears more likely that Cruz's own sick vision of right and wrong was created. That corrupted, warped morality became a faulty rationale for someone, once again, to attack and kill those who represented something with which he didn’t agree.

We have to learn that it is OK to have differing viewpoints. The freedom to think and feel one way or another about a subject or an issue is part of the foundation of this democracy. We should have the ability to open discuss and even debate those differences.

But we continue to push the envelop and the line between respect for human life and dignity gets pushed back further and further. We’re not satisfied with allowing contrasting opinions to exist. We seem destined not to learn from the past just how deadly the venom of self-righteousness can become.

Hatred is the weakest of emotions. It is cowardly and uncontrollable.

Tolerance and understanding are much harder lessons to impart. It shouldn’t take the lives of 17 people — it shouldn’t take the life of even one person — to give us reason to reflect on what we are doing, individually and collectively, to stop this from happening again.