A psychotic man walks casually into a gun store and buys a slick 9mm Glock automatic pistol. To ensure that his diabolical plot doesn't go awry, he also buys extra magazines loaded with ammunition. That way, he calculates, he can fire at least 20 rounds from a 30-round clip. By then, he will have comfortably mowed down his targets - any living, breathing human will do - and engrave his name next to the infamous assassins of the past.
22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner did just that, killing six people, including a bubbly third-grader, and critically injuring Arizona's Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, his main target. The Congresswoman had called a community meeting in Tucson on January 8 to gauge the mood of her constituents. It was held in the open, a vivid display of democracy in action, until Loughner opened fire and splattered the sidewalks with blood.
Much will be written about what caused Loughner to trip. Menacing to begin with, he unnerved everyone around him in the community college where he was a student. Given his mental state, he must have found the toxic rhetoric of the likes of Glen Beck and Sarah Palin music to his ears.
But ultimately it was one stark fact that made the difference between impotent rage and murderous realization: Buying a gun in Arizona, as in many other states, is as easy as buying milk.
If the NRA and the gun lobby, more correctly, the assassin lobby, is not checked and Congress does not pass laws to keep firearms out of the hands of citizens, particularly the deranged, America will continue to be periodically convulsed by the violence of madmen and psychopaths. There are about 85 guns per 100 Americans. Think of that 85% gun ownership for a moment, and see if you don't get the shivers! On the average, 80 Americans die from guns every day.
Unless we as a nation revisit the first two constitutional amendments and enact tougher gun-control laws, and acknowledge to ourselves that love of gun is an addiction just like the addiction to drugs or alcohol or sex, history will continue to repeat itself and more innocent blood will be splattered on our sidewalks and in our homes.