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Commentary: Remember when North Dakota lawmakers were mocked for allowing concealed carry in churches?

FBI agents and other law enforcement and crime scene personnel outside the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, where a gunman killed at least 26 people and injured at least 20 more on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017. (Callie Richmond / Copyright 2017 The New York Times)

A shooter in Sutherland Springs, Texas, opened fire in a Baptist church over the weekend. As I write this, the count is 26 dead and 20 wounded.

The incident has sparked the usual debate over gun control. Which makes about as much sense as debating restrictions on car rentals after an Uzbek man, apparently radicalized by watching ISIS propaganda online, drove a Home Depot truck onto a bike path in Manhattan and killed eight people.

We’re better off talking about why this variety of malcontents – from religious zealots to bigots to the mentally unstable – choose mass murder as a venue for their angst. Is it the infamy we give the perpetrators of these crimes through intense and incessant media coverage? I’d argue yes, but that’s a topic for another post.

The attack in Sutherland Springs was on a church, and the body count might have been higher had one of the church’s neighbors not heard the shooting and fired back with his own weapon.

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