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ONCE past the initial shock and grief that comes with deadly rampages in a single week, the public will demand a sober conversation about violence against innocents.

Events this week stunned on opposite coasts and across the world. On Friday a gunman fatally shot 27 people, including 20 Connecticut elementary schoolchildren, and the toll may rise. Hearts break at the news that the children killed were between 5 and 10 years old.

The same day, a knife-wielding man attacked 22 children outside of their primary school in Henan province in central China.

On Tuesday, a shooter killed two people and injured one at an Oregon shopping mall.

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The common element in the tragedies, and the mass violent attacks of the past, is that they took place in innocuous settings — shopping malls, schools — with innocent victims.

In the coming days, more facts will emerge. Reality will hopefully trump old rhetoric about violence and weapons.

Saying and doing nothing is not an option in the face of so many funerals and grieving families.

Tackling violence is a matter of public health as well as public safety. Policies vary from state to state. Bloodshed is the common theme.

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