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Opinion editor's note: Editorials represent the opinions of the Star Tribune Editorial Board, which operates independently from the newsroom.


There was a frequent trope in the fictional world of "The West Wing," a popular television series. One character would discuss a terrible experience, and another, offering the best support that could be mustered, would simply say: "Yeah." It was a one-word acknowledgment that we humans can feel helpless against the universe and the cruelty of our own kind.

At around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in the real world, a news alert flashed. It began: "A shooting at an elementary school in Texas …"

Not just another mass shooting, but at a school. An elementary school. The initial report said two people were dead, but that grew to 19 children and two adults.


But that's not good enough, is it? We can't just toss up our hands at this. Can we? Will we? Again?

This latest shooting took place in Uvalde, a city of about 16,000 people about 85 miles west of San Antonio. The 18-year-old suspect is dead, too. We pray that by the time you read this, the toll won't have grown.

We'll all hear the usual responses, the ones we like and the ones we don't. If you read these pages regularly, you know the ones the Star Tribune Editorial Board favors. Here are a couple the board does not:

That although mass shootings get the attention, they represent just a small portion of the gun violence in the United States. True, but way too clinical.

That the attention to them is overwrought because the daily drumbeat of gun violence, particularly in big cities, is ignored. To the extent that's so, it only shows what's lacking, not what's overdone.

There comes a time when a nation acknowledges that all violence is cause for a collective response.

Comes a time when it stops tossing its hands.

Comes a time when it utters, finally, just one word: