Mass school shootings such as that which claimed 27 lives in Connecticut last week are apparently caused by violent video games, by gruesome films, perhaps more than anything by the moral laxity of a media that gives them so much attention, but absolutely not by the ubiquitous availability of firearms.
In fact, it turns out that Washington's efforts to create gun-free school zones actually incite maniacs to target children and the real answer is armed guards at all educational institutions.
Welcome to the looking-glass world of the National Rifle Association. In the lobby group's first statement since the tragedy, NRA executive director Wayne LaPierre talked of "evil monsters" plotting the next massacre "at this very moment" and warned of a "national nightmare of violence and victimisation" if Americans were not free to stock up on guns. The only consolation in the face of such absurdity is that, if the NRA carries on like this, it will make its critics' arguments for them. As Mr LaPierre himself said, albeit in a rather different context: "How have our nation's priorities gotten so far out of order?" How, indeed.