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American exceptionalism: The shootings will go on

By James Fallows

Insane rampages are, sadly, not confined to the United States. One happened this very day in China, where a cruel madman attacked a group of children at school.

Here's the difference:

An article about a knife attack in China

Twenty-two children injured. Versus, at current count, 18 little children and nine other people shot dead. That's the difference between a knife and a gun.

Guns don't attack children; psychopaths and sadists do. But guns uniquely allow a psychopath to wreak death and devastation on such a large scale so quickly and easily. America is the only country in which this happens again — and again and again. You can look it up.

No one has been killed on American soil through what we define as an act of "terrorism" in more than a decade, but countless elements of our life are still shaped and warped by the open-ended "war on terror". (Or, if you count the Fort Hood shooting as "terrorism", 13 people have been killed.)

Thousands of people die every year from gun violence, an unspeakable number at schools, and — we mourn and "move on". "Nothing to be done".

For parents, siblings, and families whose lives have been forever changed (or ended), deepest sympathies. For us as a nation... I don't know what to say.


This post was originally published by The Atlantic

15 December 2012