Here we are again.
Another unstable, disgruntled young man, another gathering place, a dozen more lives randomly taken. Another massacre added to the list: Sandy Hook Elementary. Aurora, Colo. Fort Hood. Virginia Tech. Tucson, Ariz. Now, the Washington Navy Yard. Just another violent day in America.
The sad ritual that follows has grown familiar.
Families are mourning. Friends, co-workers and strangers will gather for candlelight vigils and religious services. Photos, flowers, notes and other memorial tributes already are consecrating the scene.
News accounts describe someone who had no trouble obtaining several weapons, despite an obvious need for mental health care and a history of misusing firearms. Political speeches will follow. Editorials — here's one — will denounce these senseless killings and a stubborn refusal to better regulate access to firearms.
After a time, the cycle will repeat itself. And again. And again after that.
Alexey Pushkov, a Russian legislator, called Monday's slayings “a clear confirmation of American exceptionalism.”
His display of sarcasm echoed a theme from a New York Times op-ed on Syria by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Pushkov's remark was flippant, insensitive, even rude. But was he wrong?
There have been so many mass killings in this country that it's hard to keep track.
Do you remember Binghamton, N.Y.? That was just four years ago. Thirteen people killed in an immigrant community center.
How about San Ysidro? Twenty-one people slain at a McDonald's restaurant in 1984.
Killeen, Texas? Twenty-three people killed in a cafeteria in 1991.
In this post-9/11 era, Americans grudgingly accept the growing security state. We're surrounded by security cameras. We're scanned at airports, walk through metal detectors at courthouses, surrender our bags to be searched at public buildings and even sports arenas. Still, Aaron Alexis entered the Navy Yard unchallenged, carrying a handgun, a shotgun and a rifle.