In the United States, you will hear madmen insist that:
59 dead and 500 injured in Las Vegas are the price of freedom.
49 dead and 58 wounded in Orlando, Florida, are the price of freedom.
27 dead and 2 injured in Newtown, Connecticut, are the price of freedom.
And so it goes. This truly is insanity. We can try to deal with that small percentage of the population who collect or own guns for hunting, target shooting or security, but to claim as a constitutional right the possession of firearms intended for nothing less than brutal, gruesome warfare strains credulity. These are killing machines with no purpose other than to maim and destroy.
Of course, we’ve said this time and again and will doubtless say it again because the foolish cycle remains unchanging.
Every time someone unleashes gun violence and takes multiple victims, we begin with adamant, genuine grief and a collective wringing of hands. Then we are told that the immediate aftermath is not the time to bring politics into a time of sorrow, and then that, yes, maybe we will look into the license to kill we permit with our lax gun laws. Then the flowers will fade, the candles will gutter, the memorials will be over and nothing will be done.
But beyond the horrific scale of the Las Vegas killings, there were a couple of things that struck us as different about this latest tragedy. Usually, the National Rifle Association goes into its bunker and assumes radio silence for a week or so after these mass murders take place, and as if on cue Sunday morning, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre suddenly popped up on CBS’ Face the Nation, blaming the violence not on the millions and millions his organization spends holding gun control at bay but, you guessed it, “the elites.” He said:
By Michael Winship
Michael Winship is senior writing fellow at Demos and a senior writer of the new series, Moyers & Company, airing on public television.