HOW HAUNTING the front-page photo yesterday: little children holding hands with police officers leading them to safety after a hate-filled man had sprayed 70 shots from a semiautomatic weapon into a Jewish community center summer camp. Inside, the rampage had left a 5-year-old boy critically wounded and had hurt two 6-year-old boys, a 16-year-old girl camp counselor and a 68-year-old receptionist. A 3 1/2-year-old boy, said to have been perilously close to the bursts of gunfire, reported to his mother later that "the bad monster ran away." To Las Vegas, it appeared, where a man surrendered with a monstrous explanation: He wanted his actions to be "a wake-up call to America to kill Jews," an FBI source said.
The real wake-up message is not in this antisemitic garbage but in the relentless series of multiple murders and woundings by deranged men speaking with firearms. In Littleton, the outbursts took down high school students; then it was people on the streets and in offices; and now, little kids at camp. An hour later and not far away, a postal worker was gunned down; authorities charged the same man.
Americans are awake these days to the alarming prevalence of gunfire and the outlandish availability of the most efficient tools of violence. They are awake to the chilling facts of life in a sea of firearms that is glorified by NRA lobbyists as the answer to criminals who "will get guns anyway."
Too many members of Congress are unawakened -- still looking the other way and coming up with excuses for leaving America's mammoth arsenal largely intact. They talk about hate and violence but not about more controls on guns or the banning of concealable weapons. They could learn from the children of Los Angeles.