The Economist on the Charleston shooting
, after noting in passing that Jeb Bush cancelled a campaign meeting he had scheduled for the city:
"It is interesting to contemplate how many victims a killing must claim before politicians feel they need to cancel a rally in the area, and what types of victims merit cancellation. Would Mr Bush have cancelled his rally after a gang-related killing? What about a terrorist attack? (For that matter, why are political murders such as the Boston Marathon bombing immediately labelled "terrorism", while the apparently political mass murder in Charleston is not?) Will mass killings someday be unremarkable enough in America that politicians feel comfortable ignoring them entirely?
The regularity of mass killings breeds familiarity. The rhythms of grief and outrage that accompany them become - for those not directly affected by tragedy - ritualised and then blend into the background noise. That normalisation makes it ever less likely that America's political system will groan into action to take steps to reduce their frequency or deadliness. Those who live in America, or visit it, might do best to regard them the way one regards air pollution in China: an endemic local health hazard which, for deep-rooted cultural, social, economic and political reasons, the country is incapable of addressing. This may, however, be a bit unfair. China seems to be making progress on pollution."
This reader's comment on another piece on the same site
looks very pointed, too:
"At the time the American Constitution was written guns were not easily available - they were expensive and they were bought in general by people who actually needed them, mostly for serious self protection or hunting. And so was ammunition too. Furthermore, at that time no automatic guns, not even revolvers or hand-loaded rifles like the Winchester, did exist.
I bet that if they could predict that guns would become so (relatively) cheap, so powerfull and so sophisticated (able to fire many shots per minute or even per second) as they are nowadays the Founding Father's text on gun rights and possession would very likely have been quite different just to avoid lunatics like this boy being able to commit such massacres."