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Looking for follow-through after a recurring conversation

“Why are so many Americans so seduced by the destructive potential of guns?”

Ron Reagan, the son of ex-President Ronald Reagan, is a former talkshow host, author, political analyst and commentator on MSNBC.

So now we’re going to have a conversation about guns? After every mass shooting, America gathers itself and promises to ponder the realities of our country’s gun violence. After this or that shocking atrocity, we tell ourselves we will finally get serious about addressing this blight.

And then of course we don’t.

We natter on about background checks and the Second Amendment while the deeper question remains: Why are so many Americans so seduced by the destructive potential of guns and so enthralled with violence itself? When will the conversation take that turn?

We are a perversely violent culture; our 300 million citizens are more likely to pick up a gun and shoot someone than, say, a similar number of Europeans. The NRA and its followers point to violent entertainment — some of which they sponsor — as the culprit, and the mainstream media largely tags along. Our nation’s true saturation with killing and destruction, though, is largely ignored.

Consider our de facto national pastime. NFL football has become so ferocious that its practitioners routinely suffer brain damage.

There is an edge of menace in our land even as crime statistics drop. An alarming number of Americans seem to think the Constitution was written expressly to guarantee their right to pack heat anywhere from church to the local honky-tonk. Stand Your Ground laws anyone?

This extends, naturally, all the way to the top. Our government’s foreign policy is backed up by the explicit threat of full-spectrum carnage, from surgical through nuclear. Our president has a “kill list.”

Cross us and we’ll send a drone over your hometown and cap your ass.

Is it baffling that the angry and delusional among us will reach for a gun to enact their darkest fantasies?

By all means, let’s have that gun conversation. And when the next mass killing occurs, as it shortly will, let’s be properly horrified. But please, no pretending we’re surprised.

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