The tragedy is that gun control is moving in the wrong direction. The Clinton-era ban on assault weapons expired in 2004 and, to his discredit, Mr Obama has done nothing to try to revive it. It is fanciful to imagine that guns will ever disappear from America; they are too deeply embedded in its founding myths and its culture. But that does not mean that more effective checks on the mentally unstable are impossible, or that restrictions on the killing power of what can be sold are doomed to failure. Neither of these will happen, though, unless the blame is directed to where it belongs.