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7/9/16

USA: In Dallas, yet another shooting that won't move the needle on gun control - by Lucia Graves

Less than a month after the tragedy in Orlando, a familiar cycle is setting in.

On Wednesday, Americans went to bed thinking about one shooting. On Thursday morning, we woke up to another, watching an innocent victim die on a video taken by his girlfriend. On Thursday night, we fell asleep to the horrors of a third.

Such events used to feel like an aberration. And while the killing of blameless cops reporting for duty at a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas on Thursday night is a new, heinous twist, the outcome – the gunning down of innocents – has become the status quo.

The trouble is, ending America’s scourge of mass shootings and the deep-seated bias in police killings will require many things that our country is not good at. It will require persistence and cooperation, empathy and bipartisanship. It will require policy reform and, specifically, gun control. It will require us to walk a line between numb detachment and murderous rage.

So far, we haven’t found the line.

President Obama sure tries. Overseas for a Nato summit in Warsaw on Thursday, he had just given extended remarks on the police killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, when the ambush-style attack in Dallas forced him to take up the topic of gun violence yet again.

He proceeded to say the obvious things that somehow, sadly, still need to be said, that “there is no possible justification for these kinds of attacks or any violence against law enforcement”, and that their deaths are a reminder of the sacrifices they make for our safety.

And then he said the same thing he’s been saying since he took office seven years ago, that easy access to powerful weapons is a big part of the problem. He’s tried just about everything on that front: soaring speeches, executive actions, congressional entreaties, even leading a black congregation in a soulful rendition of Amazing Grace.

But nothing’s worked. Washington hasn’t budged. If anything, Republicans have dug in their heels.

House Democrats’ sit-in for a vote on gun control last month was dismissed by their Republican counterparts as a “publicity stunt” and “not becoming US Congress”.

And this week Republican leadership put its focus on ways to punish Democrats for their actions.

Hours before the shooting in Dallas, GOP lawmakers delayed gun control votes indefinitely.

Read more: In Dallas, yet another shooting that won't move the needle on gun control | Lucia Graves | Opinion | The Guardian

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