A shaken President Joe Biden spoke for the country on Tuesday night, expressing shame and anger at the slaughter of innocents at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. In the immediate aftermath of this most recent mass shooting — the murder of 19 young children and two educators — shame and anger are the only right response. In the first instance, they fit the case better than calm analysis ever could.
As the shock subsides, however, it needs to give way to purposeful outrage. Exactly how the killings came about might not be clear for a while — but the details won’t change the case for the commonsense gun regulation that most of the country wants. From time to time, Congress has come close to acting, then failed to. It has long lacked any excuse for this dereliction of duty. Voters need to marshal their anger and direct it against the politicians and interests that, year after year, have persistently blocked reform. When it comes down to it, neighbors need to persuade neighbors that the path we’re on will lead to a dead end.