Around and around we go. Where will it stop? It won't.
A psychotic goes on a shooting spree. People are horrified. Some people say, "Let's change our gun laws so this never happens again!" Other people say, "They want to take away all of our guns!"
These two groups accuse each other of terrible motivations. They spit invective at each other.
Sales of guns and ammo spike. Nothing changes. The furor dies down. We wait until the next time, and then we do it all over again.
This is what's known as the "gun debate" in America. It isn't much of a debate. It's poorly scripted Kabuki Theater on eternal repeat.
Nobody has room for moderation. Nobody can tolerate a thoughtful exchange of ideas. Nobody wants a discussion.
Many things go unacknowledged.
One such thing is that most deaths by gun violence in America occur every day among gangs in our inner cities using illegally obtained handguns.
Another such thing is that three-fourths of guns used in spree-killings are purchased legally.
But when the "gun debate" arises, it's rarely a response to the everyday violence from drugs and gangs, but rather a response to the relatively rare case of psychopathic random killing.
And when Americans talk about what to do about keeping guns out of the hands of killers, the discussion is unevenly focused on the random psychopath instead of the drug addict and the gang member.
Mostly though, this "discussion" doesn't really happen at all: not on a national level and not in any sustained or intelligent way.
The tragedy occurs. The screaming match ensues. Eventually it dies down. And then we wait for the cycle to begin again.
Every teachable moment gets lost, and it's merely a matter of time until another bullet fired out of a gun held by a person kills another person, or many people.
What do I think we should do about it?
Does it matter?
In the so-called gun debate, everybody screams and nobody is heard.