Among other “reasons” for not reforming gun laws is the simple fact that these tragedies give us something easy to deplore. And they are, in an almost literal sense, tragedies, shows that are put on for public catharsis. It’s always been odd to me that everyone so naturally reverts to the language of theater to describe them, but as I think about it more, it’s because somehow we actually all do know what these events are. For us as social individuals, they create the opportunity to mime our cohesion with a certain set of minimal values. We can all talk about our prayers and our support and perform our demonstrations of individual virtue. For us as governed individuals, these events offer convenient distraction from asking about who is governing and in what interest. I’m not saying that they are planned or caused, but simply that they are allowed, and are our very own 21st century American version of bread and circuses. And that’s why nothing meaningful will ever be done to prevent them.