When you drive the getaway car from the scene of a liquor store robbery where the clerk was killed, you can be charged with homicide even if you never entered the store. If you supply alcohol to someone and they’re involved in a fatal DUI crash later, you can be charged with a crime. If you hide a criminal from the police, you can be arrested.

Give money to a Congressman who votes to allow mentally disturbed individuals easy access to high-power assault rifles, however, you’re off scott-free when one of those people uses that weapon to kill others.  If you lobby to take military style weapons off banned firearms lists, you’re just a patriotic American who supports the Second Amendment. Vote to make these things possible, and you’re only responsible for “thoughts and prayers”.

The United States is sick. I was holding onto the hope that this disease was not terminal, but that diminishes each time we see the news of another mass shooting. Just this year alone, we’ve had 20 fatalities at school shootings, 17 of them in the most recent incident. What have we done about it? Nothing. Well, almost nothing. We elect and re-elect people like Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Devin Nunes, and Donald Trump. We let them off with issuing platitudes. Children die, the NRA remains silent and writes checks.

Dianne Feinstein has been dealing with this issue since she found San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Mascone dead in their offices, moments after being shot on November 27, 1978. “I feel a kind of anger today. The custom is don’t speak about it, just express grief the day after. Well, I’m tired of just doing that. We become culpable when we do nothing to stop it.”

I think we entered the terminal phase of our disease on December 14, 2012. That’s the date, in case you don’t recall, of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Twenty first graders were murdered by a nut with guns. We did nothing at the federal level to address the problem.

Gun nuts say “MORE GUNS!” 270 to 330 million guns in the United States, and they want more. The 2011 Small Arms Survey lists 89 guns per 100 people in the U.S. (yet only about 34% of Americans actually own a gun. Gun owners hoard.) The next on the list, at about 55 guns per 100 people, is Yemen. Canada clocks in at 31. If more guns were the key to safety, the United States should be the safest country in the western world. Tell that to the parents of the children killed in Florida yesterday.

“I’ll be able to make sure that when you walk down the street you’re not gonna be shot. Your child isn’t gonna be shot.” – Donald J. Trump 8/24/16  I guess we can congratulate him for being right. Yesterday’s victims weren’t walking down the street. He didn’t say anything about kids in school, apparently.

“I was hiding in a closet for 2 hours. It was about guns. You weren’t there, you don’t know how it felt. Guns give these disgusting people the ability to kill other human beings. This IS about guns and this is about all the people who had their life abruptly ended because of guns.” – Carly, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, scene of yesterday’s shooting, in response to the following Tweet by right-wing noise-maker Tomi Lahren: “Can the Left let the families grieve for even 24 hours before they push their anti-gun and anti-gunowner agenda? My goodness. This isn’t about a gun it’s about another lunatic.”

“Here’s where we remember that the CDC is forbidden BY LAW from studying gun violence as a public health problem.” – Charles P. Pierce, on Twitter.

Student who survived this latest school shooting: “We need to dig out of this hole… there is something seriously wrong here. And some of our policymakers… need to look in the mirror and take some action because… without action, ideas stay ideas and children die.” CNN on Twitter.

“BREAKING: Leader of white nationalist group has confirmed suspect in Florida school shooting was member of his organization.” – Associated Press on Twitter. (So this won’t help build the wall or ban Muslims from entering the United States.)

“From Parkland, a student there: “We’re children, you guys are, like, the adults. Take action, work together, come over your politics, and get something done.” We need more than the usual “thoughts and prayers”. Act! No tension between 2nd Amendment and sane gun safety measures” – former Attorney General Eric Holder via Twitter.

The list goes on. And you know what? We still won’t do anything about it. Not as long as the NRA has a lock on the GOP, and the GOP stays in power, Until then, we’re dying. The children are dying. Our republic is dying.

The best the GOP can muster up is “thoughts and prayers”.