Just days after the terror of a mass shooting in Atlanta hit the headlines, that event was eclipsed by news of an even higher body count from a mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado. What are the chances this latest tragedy will be superseded by another round of gun violence in a day or two?

The fact that it would be impossible to discount that possibility indicates just how normal it is in the United States for a disturbed person to easily obtain weapons of war and then go to a school, a theater, a church, a shopping mall or some other public place to commit multiple murders. Columbine, Sandy Hook, Aurora, San Antonio – the list of horrific incidents is so long that they simply blend into an endless stream of tragedy and pain.

The common denominator in all of these crimes is a gun; usually a high-powered, military-style weapon obtained legally and often only days before it is put to use. After every shooting, Democrats push for new limits on the availability of such tools of death, and Republicans deny, deflect and defy polls, which indicate an overwhelming share of the electorate supports measures such as background checks, waiting periods after gun purchases and even a ban on assault rifles.

Republicans are doing it again this time. Some fear retribution from the National Rifle Association and the few but loud voters who want no restrictions on guns. Others are Second Amendment fanatics who believe that behind every reasonable gun- control proposal there is a nefarious plot to disarm Americans and turn them into slaves of an oppressive government. What Republicans never do is offer any solution to the epidemic of gun violence.

These Republicans claim they are for freedom, yet they are sanguine about the fact that no other nation on the planet, except those that are embroiled in warfare, shares this plague of gun deaths. Germany, Japan, Australia, New Zealand – those and many other countries are more free than we are because their citizens can go about their lives without fearing that they might become random targets of a man with a gun.

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