We can describe Saturday's shooting rampage in Tucson as shocking, horrifying, and unthinkable; but no one -- no elected official, no media commentator, no opinion maker -- can truthfully say it was a surprise.
That bringing a concealed weapon within that proximity to an elected official could be legal in the world's longest-lasting democracy is both surreal and shameful -- and now it threatens that democracy.
From listening to many suicidal and rageful/violent people and hearing information similar to what we are beginning to learn about Loughner, I believe that four factors may have contributed to his actions.
Within a few hours of the Tucson shootings, the national political narrative transformed into a soul-searching query: How has our society come to this season in hell, and what must be done to heal us? The right's panic about this shift was palpable.
We don't know all the facts from Tuscon, Arizona yet, but we do know that every single day, 34 Americans die to gun violence. And so it will continue until we get serious about cracking down on illegal guns and protecting innocent people.