Most Irish people adopted a high-moral-ground response to the latest gun slaughter at an American school. Sadness and sympathy were mixed, but an inability to understand why America won’t tackle the gun insanity prevailed — as it always does in these tragic circumstances.
We could not see how Americans can think that access to military-grade firearms is more important than their children’s security.
Maybe we should ask ourselves the same sort of question but substitute teenagers’ misuse of drink for guns.
Any discussion around drink in a society where it is such a central social player sails close enough to hypocrisy and sanctimony.
But events at an alcohol-free underage disco in Co Cork last weekend, where according to emergency doctors at the scene, at least two teenagers could have died because they had drunk so much, make obvious questions unavoidable.
That this near-tragedy could have happened in any Irish town or suburb merely confirms that.
To many societies, this kind of excess must seem as incomprehensible as America’s gun massacres seem to us.