That’s the question– both essential and apparently unanswerable– that Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo asks after the latest American massacre, this time at an elementary school in Connecticut, that took nearly 30 lives, including at least 18 children.
The mother of the shooter, who is among the dead, taught at the school and was killed along with many of her students.
Thinking of the grief of parents and family, and the trauma of the surviving children, is almost too much to bear.
What I fear– what I know– is that everyone will retreat into their comfortable old beliefs and arguments. And then, sooner rather than later, there will be a next time.
Update: I hope that even the most strident defenders of “gun rights” could agree with Jeffrey Goldberg on this:
We must find a way to make it more difficult for the non-adjudicated mentally ill to come into possession of weapons. This is crucially important, but very difficult, because it would require the cooperation of the medical community — of psychiatrists, therapists, school counselors and the like — and the privacy issues (among other issues) are enormous. But: It has to be made more difficult for sociopaths, psychopaths and the violently mentally-ill (who, in total, make up a small portion of the mentally ill population) to buy weapons.
Further update: President Obama:
“As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it’s an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago — these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children. And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.”
Additional update: Contrary to earlier reports, the shooter’s mother was not a teacher at the school, and was shot at home before the shooter went to the school.
All of the 20 children killed were six- and seven-year-old first graders, and were shot multiple times.