(Tom Toles)

Please remember that being terrified is not the same as terrorism. Dead students, cowering students and weeping students are sad in their way, but we are informed by our leaders that this is simply the way things are, and the way things have to be.

What we need to understand, apparently, is that if the shooter is of a different religion and/or a foreigner, mass carnage is a crisis, unacceptable and a national cause. When it is a foreigner, the president will say something like the No. 1 responsibility of his job, above all others, is protecting the lives of American citizens. This is stated as if it were self-evident, and self-evidently conditioned on the killers, not the killed.

Cost in fighting one kind of mass murder is no object. How much money have we spent on homeland security? Inconvenience is not an issue. How many hours have you spent inching through airport security with your shoes in a tub? Liberty rights? Forget it. What are you carrying in that bag? What is in this tube? This shampoo is not allowed on the plane. Because American lives take highest priority.

But dead kids from a mass domestic shooting? The sound of feet you get here is not of socks shuffling through security lines, but of foot-dragging in Congress. Actually, foot-dragging overstates it. Their feet aren’t moving at all. What we hear is the dead silence of inaction for these dead students. Neither do we hear any sound from the motionless hands being sat on, nor the silent, fervent prayer that the news cycle will move on to some other subject. They are willing to make this moment of silence go on as long as it takes.

So, bottom line, don’t be afraid. Domestic gun violence is not terrorism, so no need to be terrified. It is just a routine school event now, like the prom, so take it in stride the way your Republican Congress and president do. It’s not like they don’t care, it’s just that they have concluded that the only thing to be afraid of in mass domestic carnage is that it will be “politicized” in a way that people expect them to do something. Now that, to them, is the real terror.

Does this state of affairs make any sense at all to you? No, of course it doesn’t. But policy that is completely divorced from the reality of nonstop tragedy is just one more thing, like the carnage itself, you are now expected to get used to.