- A lone gunman opens fire at a soft target (public school, university, movie theater, church...), killing multiple (sometimes dozens of) victims.
- In the fog of breaking news, when facts are few and far between and the body count isn't even known, family, friends, and acquaintances of the shooter express dismay that he (almost surely a "he") was capable of such an heinous act. "No one had any idea..."
- In the fog of breaking news, politicians and pundits express their sympathy, offer their hearts and prayers, and stake out their positions, which are the same as after the last mass shooting:
- Republicans lament, "If only there'd been an citizen with a gun, the carnage could have been stopped...," "The shooter was obviously troubled, crazy..."
- Democrats declare, "Access to guns is the problem [Note: It is.], we must Do Something!"
- If the President is a Republican, he (Presidents are always "he") offers his heart and prayers, laments the absence of a good citizen with a gun, etc. etc....
- If the President is a Democrat, he (see above) offers his heart and prayers, calls on Congress to Do Something, decries the historical lack of Congressional action because of that pesky gun lobby, etc., etc....
- The fog of news begins to clear, details of the shooter's social media history are reported, other friends and family speak out. The signs were there, but no one acted...
- NRA spokesmen declaim, "They guy was crazy! Obviously a mental case. If only there'd been a good citizen with a gun..."
- A bill or two to implement "common sense gun controls" such as increased background checks, restrictions on gun sales to the mentally ill, etc. is introduced in Congress.
- Outraged NRA spokesmen complain, "You can't restrict Second Amendment Rights! Every citizen, even the mentally ill, has a right to bear arms! And background checks are intrusive and an invasion of privacy!"
- Legislation fails, dies in committee most likely.
- A few news articles include the latest mass shooting in pieces about the history of mass shooting in America.
- Outrage subsides.
- Months pass.
- Rinse, repeat.