Rachel Maddow began her first show after the shooting in Arizona by raising a tough question: how will the next one be prevented?
She started by running through a long, painful list of some of the mass shootings that have occurred in America since the alleged shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, was born 22 years ago. After reeling off over a dozen different incidents, Maddow turned to the words that are often used to describe them, such as "unimaginable."
"It is hard for anybody to find the words to express the horror and the anger and the grief that are the only rational responses to massacres like this," she said. "But the one thing that events like this are not, in America, now, is inconceivable or unimaginable."
She noted that the list she had read was only a partial one, that the United States is by far the most heavily armed country in the world, and that roughly 82 people are shot to death in America every day. And she said that the question on peoples' minds right now should not be whether political rhetoric contributed to the Arizona shooting, or what Loughner's motivation might be:
"Whether political rhetoric motivated this kid or not, whether this kid was sane enough to process political rhetoric as sane people understand it or not, whether we will understand sooner or later or never the motivation behind this kid...here's the question: do we have any tools to stop the next gun massacre?"