The horrific massacre of schoolchildren and their teachers in Newtown, Connecticut, has unleashed an unprecedented debate about how to address the problem of mass violence in our country. There is an increasing sense that American society is incapable of protecting its citizens, including young children, the most vulnerable among us.
Yes, it's important to focus attention on the increase in the size and savagery of the murders: Six of the 12 most deadly shootings in our history have occurred within the past five years. The vast majority of the world's worst mass shootings have taken place in the United States. And there have been 65 mass shootings since Rep. Gabby Giffords was shot in 2009. Still, despite their horror, mass murders like Newtown are thankfully rare. So we must pay attention to the daily violence, too. Nearly 13,000 homicides were committed in the U.S. in 2010, 8,775 with firearms. So in addition to the most heartbreaking, large-scale killings, the problem is pervasive and the bloodshed overwhelming.
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