America has suffered what President Obama called "yet another mass shooting" -- this time by a disturbed man who had been removed from the Navy for "aggressive and violent behavior" and who had committed previous shooting offenses that failed to bring convictions.
Aaron Alexis -- under treatment by the Veterans Administration because he heard voices -- killed a dozen workers at the Washington Navy Yard before he was gunned down by security police.
Despite this horror, conservative politicians and the right-to-bear-arms lobby undoubtedly will block any new attempt to protect Americans from gun murder. Ironically, the Washington massacre happened only a week after two Colorado leaders were recalled by gun-lovers because they tried to save lives.
Gun zealots apparently think a Navy veteran who hears voices and vents rage is entitled to go armed amid defenseless folks.
America's gun debate never ends. Here are some current examples:
West Virginia is among 39 "shall issue" states, which means that authorities must provide a pistol-carrying permit to every adult who requests one, as long as the applicant has no criminal or mental record. Iowa has a similar law -- and Iowa's right-to-bear-arms fans say this entitles blind people to carry loaded pistols. Good grief. Try to envision sightless shootouts that might occur.
Meanwhile, Republicans in Florida support a national lawsuit attempting to revoke a federal law forbidding Americans under 21 from buying guns from licensed dealers. Former West Virginia newsman Fred Grimm, now at the Miami Herald, wrote sarcastically that conservatives "cannot abide the notion of an 18-year-old bellying up to the bar for a Budweiser," yet they want to "ensure that the same knucklehead can buy himself a Beretta."
FBI statistics show that teenage males commit an outsize portion of U.S. gun murders -- but conservatives want to arm them, anyway.