School's Out, But There's No Vacation for Gun Nuts

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A new permutation, it seems, in a year pockmarked by variations on a tragic theme. Bullets flying again, this time in the lobby of a Jewish community center in Los Angeles, in the middle of a sunny day. The victims number five, one, a five-year-old boy, close to it. Three of them are little children, so young that among their peers, the luckier innocents, some were smiling and holding hands as their rescuers led them to safety. Extra cruel this time.

The perpetrator is still at large, male –- isn’t it always? -– and so elusive that he has been described variously as a teen wearing white and, more recently, a man, curly hair, in his 40s, wearing green, possibly fatigues. His defining characteristic, at least at 10:50 a.m. (PT) Tuesday, was that he was carrying an Uzi, and using it. There are vague reports of red rental vans and explosives, but none of motive. This was a day care center, a place for children to be safe in summer when school is out and their parents’ work weeks continue unrelenting. The older children at the day camp were away at the time, touring the Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance, prompting Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of that sad shrine, to try to make a kind of insane sense of this installment of America’s recent ravaging by men and guns and news choppers. "It's ironic that the 20 children were here learning about man's inhumanity to man, when their own day camp became a target of such hatred," Hier said. Irony doesn’t begin to cover it.