From the perspective of an American living abroad, for the most part my country does a remarkable job of avoiding the kind of ethnic, religious and political strife that has haunted Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa for centuries. And yet America has a long history of violence and lawlessness. The lunatic fringe have no trouble obtaining firearms and going on shooting sprees.
In Columbine, Colorado in 1999, two students massacred 33. In 2002, a sniper in the Washington, DC metro region shot 13 over three weeks. In Bemidji, Minnesota in 2005, a high school student killed 10 and wounded 15. In Blacksburg, Virginia in 2007, a student killed 33 and wounded 17.
On Saturday, we were reminded of that history as Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in Tuscon, and a district court judge, a nine-year-old child and at least four others were killed. A total of 18 people were shot. It's a good time to listen to words of Robert Kennedy after the death of Martin Luther King in 1968. Two short months later, Kennedy himself was the victim of violence. (Hat tip for link to video: Stella Adams). Related: Shooting Throws Spotlight on State of US Political Rhetoric; Tucson Shooting Reported Globally As Evidence of Charged US Political Climate.