This recent horror took place at a shopping mall. Others have happened at schools. Ordinary gathering places, recalling that the word "civil" comes from a root meaning a town. In a civil space, we gather with basic needs: to buy and sell goods, to teach the young. From the beginning, some have doubted our national project: to keep order in civic spaces not by means of a nobility or a priesthood, but by means that are democratic: shared. As Walt Whitman says. "Whoever degrades another degrades me, And whatever is done or said returns at last to me."
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