September 28th, 2009
12:48 PM ET

Murder in the worst degree

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/09/23/florida.family.dead/art.mesac.damas.naples.jpg caption="Mesac Damas spoke with reporters in Haiti, saying a spirit drove him to kill his wife and children."]

Bob Greene
CNN Contributor

There are some things we should never allow ourselves to get used to.

Yes, ours is a violent society. We take ghastly acts, and, almost out of exhausted resignation, we categorize them with convenient labels.

The mowing down of people walking along city streets? "Drive-by shootings," as if the carnage is part of some video game. The attacks, sometimes deadly, upon motorists on their way home? "Road rage," as if the brutal assaults are understandable, a traffic-related offense.

We probably shouldn't be blamed for at times letting all of this wash over us. There is only so much cruelty that can be absorbed before a kind of numbness sets in.

Yet there is a certain kind of crime we must not let ourselves become accustomed to. Because if we do, then we are truly adrift.

Twice during the last week, reports of such crimes have been presented to us.

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Filed under: Crime & Punishment
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