Atlanta, Georgia -- eight dead. Boulder, Colorado -- ten dead.
It's an all-too-familiar ritual, counting how many have been killed in the latest round of mass shootings that are unique to the United States.
There's no doubt why our country has so many more mass shootings than comparable countries. We have way more guns than they do.
A 2017 New York Times story tallied up the mass shooting death toll in various countries from 1966 to 2012.
When the world looks at the United States, it sees a land of exceptions: a time-tested if noisy democracy, a crusader in foreign policy, an exporter of beloved music and film.
But there is one quirk that consistently puzzles America’s fans and critics alike. Why, they ask, does it experience so many mass shootings?
Perhaps, some speculate, it is because American society is unusually violent. Or its racial divisions have frayed the bonds of society. Or its citizens lack proper mental care under a health care system that draws frequent derision abroad.
These explanations share one thing in common: Though seemingly sensible, all have been debunked by research on shootings elsewhere in the world. Instead, an ever-growing body of research consistently reaches the same conclusion.
The only variable that can explain the high rate of mass shootings in America is its astronomical number of guns.
So common-sense gun control is by far the best way to reduce both mass shootings and other types of shootings.
President Biden is calling for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, as well as an expansion of background checks.
That's a good start, though Biden also needs to take a strong stand on doing away with the Senate filibuster if he wants any gun control legislation to get through Congress and arrive on his desk for signing.
One was that gun sales skyrocketed in 2020, after being at a high level for many years. If guns keep people safe, as the NRA and other gun extremists wrongly claim, then gun deaths should have been dropping as gun sales increased.
But the opposite has happened.
The more guns there are in the United States, the more gun deaths we suffer. Which makes perfect sense, since people rarely kill other people (or themselves) with their bare hands, a knife, or whatever. They kill with a gun.
Someday our country will embrace common-sense gun control.
Maybe this will require expanding the Supreme Court to add justices who understand that the Second Amendment doesn't forbid reasonable restrictions on gun ownership. Nothing should be off the table.
We owe the victims of gun violence nothing less than an all-out gun control effort to ensure that their lives haven't been lost in vain.