This week began the way so many do: with more tragic gun violence, as three people were killed in two shootings at Jewish centers in the Kansas City area, part of the 86 killed by guns in the U.S. every day. "We are united in our condemnation of this heinous attack," said Attorney General Holder. "These acts cannot be ignored." And yet, one year ago this month, the Senate rejected even a modest background check bill, despite the support of 90 percent of Americans. In the wake of the Kansas shootings, Michael Bloomberg's $50 million gun control effort, "Everytown for Gun Safety," unveiled its first ad. We "have another chance to stop a child from being killed," it said. We do, but only if we refuse to lower our expectations. As Gabriel García Márquez, who died on Thursday, wrote, "It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams."
The names of the towns and the tally of the victims change but the horrific mass shooting cycle of shock, unimaginable grief, calls for reform, followed by a return to the nothing-to-be-done status quo is all too familiar. The nightmare in Newtown, Connecticut -- made all the more sickening by the presence of 20 dead children -- is the third mass shooting since July and the fifth since President Obama took office. In the hours after the shooting, the president made a moving, emotional speech. Just as he did in the wake of Tucson. And Aurora. But calls for "meaningful action" and the lowering of flags to half-staff are no longer enough. What we need, in the words of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is "immediate action." Gun violence, turbo-charged by easy and legal access to deadly weapons, is a cancer eating away at the soul of America. We need emergency surgery.