ON DECEMBER 14th maniacs in America and China unleashed the horror in their heads on the most innocent of targets. In China’s Henan province, Min Yongjun burst into a classroom and hacked away at 23 children, severing ears and fingers. But in Newtown, Connecticut, the little ones suffered even worse. After a ten-minute rampage 20 of them were dead, as were six teachers and the killer himself. The American was armed with a semi-automatic rifle with an extended magazine and two semi-automatic handguns. Every country has its madmen, but Min was armed only with a knife, so none of his victims died.
If America is ever to confront its obsession with guns, that time is now. America’s murder rate is four times higher than Britain’s and six times higher than Germany’s. Only an idiot, or an anti-American bigot prepared to maintain that Americans are four times more murderous than Britons, could possibly pretend that no connection exists between those figures and the fact that 300m guns are “out there” in the United States, more than one for every adult.