The nation, and its political leaders, cannot accept mass shootings as simply a routine part of American life. At least 12 innocent people were killed Friday at a suburban movie theater in Aurora, Colo., the latest in a procession of attacks by disturbed gunmen — a list that includes the 1999 massacre in Columbine, barely a half-hour away from the site of the latest shooting.
Each incident provokes a now-predictable reaction: a round of hand-wringing — followed by nothing. The most obvious preventive measure, tighter gun control laws, has been taken off the table. Both political parties — the Republicans by inclination, the Democrats by calculation — refuse to consider stricter rules. And federal courts have been increasingly unfriendly to existing gun control laws.