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I have been obsessed by the Aaron Hernandez murder case. I'm not sure why.

I watch reports on CNN and I read about Hernandez and his two alleged accomplices online and in newspapers. And I've learned about the victim Odin Lloyd, a semipro football player. I didn't know there were semipro football players.

I keep rearranging the furniture in my mind, trying to understand how a 23-year-old who has it all — and I mean he has everything — could do what he's accused of doing.

It seems Hernandez was involved in Lloyd's murder. He may even have been involved in a double homicide before that. And he may have shot another man's eye out. How does this happen to a man with athletic grace and a winning smile, to a man with the look of a hero?

The media tell us how. Many media reports are first-rate and informative. But some stories I've read or seen have me scratching my head.

For example, I have read Hernandez had a tough time growing up in Bristol, Conn. Forget that both his parents were employed and he seems to have been a happy kid, although his father died when Hernandez was a teenager. Hernandez hung around with a tough crowd and he never could break away. It's as if the tough crowd was Super Glue that kept Hernandez permanently attached to lowlifes and bums.

To which I say more than 60,000 people live in Bristol and the overwhelming majority of them are not murderers — alleged murderers.

I read Hernandez is too young and inexperienced to handle fame and the $40 million contract he signed with the New England Patriots. It's just too much to expect from a kid from Bristol.

To which I say you can't have it both ways. He can't handle his tough upbringing and he can't handle luxury. Well, what can he handle? I wish I earned 40 mil at 23. I might have blown some of that cash on silly things, but I don't believe I would have resorted to murder because I found the money so burdensome. I'm hazarding a guess here — most millionaires, even young millionaires, do not engage in execution-style hit jobs.

I have read we have a caste system in our society — there are famous athletes and then there are the rest of us. Famous athletes have a sense of entitlement that screws up their moral compass. And that's what happened to Hernandez. He felt entitled. He lost his compass. He whacked someone.

To which I say Steve Young, Joe Montana, LeBron James and Dusty Baker and thousands of other privileged, famous athletes never murdered anyone.

I have read that what Hernandez did is the fault of the National Football League, which encourages a thug culture.

I can't help noticing most NFL players are not thugs and they are not murderers. The crime rate in the NFL is lower than society at large.

I have read that what Hernandez did is the Patriots' fault because they drafted him in the first place.

When is it a crime to draft a good player?

I have read that the Patriots care only about their image and that's why they cut Hernandez an hour after his arrest.

Of course the Patriots care about their image. They're supposed to care about their image. It's never a good thing when your tight end gets arrested on a murder charge and the evidence against him is overwhelming — a dead body near his house, a bullet casing found in his car, video evidence of him with a gun, text messages from the deceased from Hernandez's car.

It certainly conveys a bad look when your tight end is in the slammer. It would be hard for him to play on Sundays unless Massachusetts institutes a work-furlough program for gang-style killers.

In news reports that shift responsibility from Hernandez to society or a culture of privilege or extreme wealth or friends from Bristol or the NFL or the Patriots, Hernandez is not the perpetrator. He is the victim.

Forget that Lloyd is dead. Hernandez is the true victim. Forces beyond his control — poor guy — led him to strip clubs, where he seems to have gotten into serious beefs, led him to guns, led him to pulling triggers, or having triggers pulled for him.

You just want to weep for Aaron Hernandez.

We live, thank God, in a culture of individual responsibility. If I shoot someone, I can't claim my father, who died in 1988, made me do it, or those tough kids I hung out with at the playground forced their wills on me. I am responsible for my actions, all of them. And you are responsible for yours. That's the thrill of being alive. It's feels good to be in charge of my life and not to cop phony excuses and not to be a victim.

Hernandez is facing life in prison because of a million choices he personally made about how he lives. He alone chose to be the man he is. He chose the crummy Bristol friends and he chose to go after wealth and he chose murder.

Some in the media can blame society and the NFL and the Patriots for what Hernandez did. Society and the NFL and the Patriots aren't sitting in a cell with bunk beds and an exposed toilet and hard, cold walls while the rest of the world moves on. They aren't facing a murder conviction.

Aaron Hernandez is.