THERE is a slight chance - just a very slim one - that the outrage that has erupted around the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida may bring change to America's lethal gun laws.

Seventeen people - students and teachers - were shot dead on February 14 by a brutally effective AR-15 automatic rifle.

This tragedy is not about personal freedom, the right to bear arms or constitutional amendments, and is only tangentially about the mental illness or otherwise of the perpetrator.

It is - as all these things inevitably are - about money. Making and selling weapons is a multi-trillion-dollar business and folk are getting rich in the death industry. And the more efficient you make these killing machines, the more money you make.


In the United States, the National Rifle Association ("proud defenders of history's patriots") is the lobby group charged with keeping the mega-bucks flowing.

A lobby group is akin to a form of organised bribery, so when America's politicians are asked to choose between sensible gun laws (such as those which have seen an end to similar school massacres in civilised countries) and a big fat cheque from the NRA, you get the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High slaughter.

No amount of shaming them and their tokenist "our thoughts and prayers are with you" press releases will change things. Grass roots action, of which there are hopeful signs, is needed. And it needs to be focused on the politicians' pockets.

Some of the big corporations and wealthy benefactors whose donations fund the power-brokers will have moral consciences and they need to be brought onside, and the NRA isolated. They will hopefully have read the eloquent and heartfelt open letter "Dear America" by Abbie Guttenberg Youkilis, the aunt of one of the victims.

The equation for the politicians has to be a simple one: Accept the NRA's millions and you lose many millions more from donors who actually care about the safety of America's young people.

Only then will things change.