Two kinds of violence

Why do we react so strongly to terrorism but do so little about everyday violence?

It was ironic that, even as Boston went all out to find the two men who were suspected of planting those bombs at the Boston Marathon, the U.S. Senate was in the process of rejecting a bill that would have required background checks for gun purchases nationwide.

On the day of the Boston bombing, which killed three people, 11 Americans were murdered by guns. While the manhunt for the bombers was going on, 38 more Americans died from guns, including a 22-year-old resident of Boston. In the past four months, 3,531 Americans have been killed by guns—more than died on 9/11.

When it comes to terrorism, it seems, we will do whatever is needed to capture the perpetrators, even if it means shutting down a major city. But when it comes to the everyday gun violence that kills more than 30,000 people a year, we won’t take even minimal steps to prevent it, despite poll results showing that 90 percent of Americans support background checks. Such is the power of the National Rifle Association.