Here in Colorado there has been a gaudy run of school shootings since the inaugural round at Columbine High School twenty years ago. So it’s no surprise that in the wake of the latest shoot ‘em up in the Denver suburb of Highlands Ranch the common refrain has been “Why Colorado?” The archetypal good question. People have moved in massed armies to Colorado in recent years, no doubt full of optimism about living in such comely state (making it less comely, of course) but coming to rest in a suburban blight that does not lead to an improved state of mind. In fact the better question is “why suburbia?” I’m hard-pressed to find across the whole catalogue of American school shootings a single instance of urban massacres. (Cities have gang-related shootings but that’s a different dynamic.) I’m afraid that the overused and often trite censure of suburban living is on the money when it comes to this traveling shooting gallery: it lacks a social contract as surely as it lacks a soul. In the slaughters’ aftermath it is the students — the brave afflicted students — who speak up for gun control. Their city-fearing parents are at home, undertoning about “mental health” but voting Republican, the party of guns.

David Chamberlain