The mass shootings are coming so fast and furious this year that it is hard to take a deep breath before the next tragedy occurs. This is useful for Republicans who continue to insist that the days immediately after a shooting are the wrong time to “politicize” the horror by opening a debate on gun violence. Effectively, that means there is never a right time for that debate.

When they do address the issue, Republicans often act as if it is a great mystery why so many Americans are getting killed in these terror attacks while there is no equivalent  carnage in other developed countries. After the killings last weekend in El Paso, Texas, Sen. John Cornyn tweeted, “Sadly, there are some issues, like homelessness and these shootings, where we simply don’t have all the answers.”

Actually, we do have some answers. To the question of whether mental health is a prime driver in the problem, research shows it is a contributing factor in only some cases, but far from all. To the question of whether we can blame it all on violent video games, the answer is no. Perpetrators of these massacres are no more likely to play video games than anyone else. Nevertheless, GOP leaders, from President Donald Trump on down, continue to yammer on about mental health and video games.

The topic they avoid is assault weapons. The ready availability of weapons of war is the one factor that is unique to the United States.  For those who think it is still a mystery why we are the only advanced nation with a plague of mass killings, that is where the obvious answer lies.

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