So now it is Aurora. Another homicidal geek has gotten his 15 minutes of fame via mass murder.

Amidst all the breast-beating, recriminations, and yowls for gun control, ammo control, and tactical equipment control, there are a number of questions that no one is bringing up. I think they should be asked.

The United States has always been a country in which guns of all types have been readily available. In the 1920s, Sears Roebuck sold Thompson submachine guns. After World War II, we were awash in military weapons. Yet Aurora and Columbine and Virginia Tech are all very recent. What’s changed?

What has changed is this: We seem to have finally succeeded in creating young men with no regard for human life. Probably there are not legions of them, but only one is too many. Their numbers cut across lines of race, education, and class. They shoot people, friends or strangers, singly or en masse, as casually as they slaughter in video games.

Maybe we’ve been in a few wars too many. Maybe our popular entertainment is too violent. Maybe our educational system has failed in this respect, as it has in many others. Maybe the news media should stop feasting on these horrors as vultures do on a carcass. Maybe it’s part of a general breakdown in society.

What are we going to do? No one has a clue. No one is even asking the question.

Guns are the least part of the equation. They are machines, and they do what their users want, no more no less. There is a line from the movie Full Metal Jacket that sums this up perfectly.

“Your rifle is only a tool. It is a hard heart that kills.”

There are more hard hearts out there, and we have no idea how to change them, so this is going to happen again.

The editors of Field & Stream extend their heartfelt sympathies to the families and friends of the victims of the Aurora shooting.