Philadelphia Daily News | December 17, 2012

THIS SUMMER when a gunman toting a Smith & Wesson semiautomatic rifle burst into a packed movie theater in Aurora, Colo., and murdered 12 people, America’s leaders had little to offer survivors and angry citizens beyond their thoughts and prayers.In a year when nearly 80 Americans have died in mass shootings, the banal evil of a man walking into an Oregon mall last week and killing two random shoppers was barely a blip on the media radar.

Even after the 2011 assassination try on U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords that wounded her and claimed the lives of six bystanders, her Democratic Party, noted the political blogger Heather “Digby” Parton, “celebrates when she recovers enough to lead the Pledge of Allegiance at their convention – but never even [mentions] gun control.”

But that was before Friday.

That was before the nation learned the unspeakably horrific details of how a 20-year-old gunman in a bulletproof vest shot his way into a Connecticut elementary school and used a .233 caliber Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle to kill 6- and 7-year-olds in a hail of bullets.

That was before Newtown.

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