As the British journalist Dan Hodges observed in June, “In retrospect Sandy Hook marked the end of the US gun control debate. Once America decided killing children was bearable, it was over.”

Since that massacre less than three years ago, there have been almost 1,000 shootings in the US at which four or more people were hit, and over 1,200 deaths. The most shocking thing about this week’s killing of nine people in Oregon was its ordinariness.

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