By the time the hail of bullets had ended, an 8-year-old was hit — fatally wounded, left to die at a hospital within a few hours.
This would be the result of yet another mass shooting in America. On Monday, a gunman walked into North Park Elementary School in San Bernardino, California. While apparently aiming for a teacher, two students were hit by his gunfire. In the end, the gunman, teacher, and an 8-year-old student were dead, and a 9-year-old student was wounded.
The shooting quickly led to calls for more gun control. Americans have heard these types of calls before: After every mass shooting, the debate over guns and gun violence sparks up once again. Maybe some bills get introduced. Critics respond with concerns that the government is trying to take away their guns. The debate stalls. So even as America continues experiencing levels of gun violence unrivaled in the rest of the developed world, nothing happens — no laws are passed by Congress, nothing significant is done to try to prevent the next horror.
It has become an American routine for the aftermath of a gun violence to play out this way.
So why is it that for all the outrage and mourning with every mass shooting, nothing seems to change? To understand that, it's important to grasp not just the stunning statistics about gun ownership and gun violence in the United States, but America's very unique relationship with guns — unlike that of any other developed country — and how it plays out in our politics to ensure, seemingly against all odds, that our culture and laws continue to drive the routine gun violence that marks American life.
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