Published in the October 6, 2017 edition

The tragic images coming from an area about 500 yards from the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas earlier this week were just as grim as the thousands of other images we’ve seen from the dozen or so mass murder sites in America over the past five years.

They don’t get any easier to stomach, and certainly no easier to understand. We live in a society that is okay with high-powered rifles and easy-to-buy handguns, and that’s not okay with us because when someone with an agenda or a mental illness or some sort of life-altering episode snaps, something bad — something very bad — is liable to happen.

Other than the over-the-top stockpiling of heavy duty weaponry, artillery and bomb-making materials, Stephen Paddock gave no outwards signs of what he was capable of Sunday night. He killed 59 people and injured 527 others, most of whom were attending an outdoor country music festival when he began his assault on them from the 32nd floor of an iconic Las Vegas hotel.

Paddock and Paddock alone caused the chaos that ensued as bodies collapsed to the ground while he strafed the area with bullets. It didn’t help, of course, that he had easy access to extreme fire power. Is this what the Founding Fathers meant by “the right to bear arms”?

While we watched the footage Monday morning in numbed resignation to the fact that nothing is going to happen that will stop this type of carnage, some politicians in Washington, like Salem’s Seth Moulton and Melrose’s Katherine Clark, did something about it.

During a moment of silence in the U.S. House of Representatives, Clark walked out of the chamber. “To have only a moment of silence where there never is action taken, tragedy after tragedy, that is not something I want to be a part of,” she said. “To somehow say this is evil and out of our control. … That is just hiding behind the horror of the situation and not doing your job.”

Clark also led a sit-in on the House floor last year after a mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub.

Moulton, who represents Wakefield in Congress, called out House Speaker Paul Ryan.

“How many Americans have to die before you do your job?” Moulton tweeted. “Allow us to have a debate and a vote. You’re letting America down.”

Yes, you are.