In Dayton, Ohio, it was all over in less than the time it takes an average person to read this column.
Twenty-four-year-old Connor Betts opened fire in a crowded bar about 1am on Sunday, slaying his sister Megan, 22, along with eight other people.
The victims were killed "in less than one minute", said a police chief, using at least 100 rounds of bullets, fired from a legally-purchased gun. CNN reported Betts wielded a .223-calibre high-capacity rifle with 100-round drum magazines.
Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl said: "To have that level of weaponry in a civilian environment, unregulated, is problematic."
Armed officers fatally shot Betts within 30 seconds of his rampage starting.
Given the pace of the police response, it should be crystal clear to anyone still not paying attention that automatic weapons, or firearms which can be adapted to fire as often as assault rifles, inflict far too many fatalities. Many, if not most, of those killed in Dayton would still be alive had the US the intestinal fortitude to prohibit weapons of modern warfare from its streets and homes.
The stark message from this tragedy - and the Walmart slaying of at least 20 people at El Paso, Texas hours just earlier - is that America needs to rein in automatic-style weapons. Sound Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg pointed out: "We are the only country in the world with more guns than people. It has not made us safer."
Several senators, fighting for attention in the race to be Democrat candidate for the 2020 US presidential election, have again waded into the issue, even as the muzzle of the gun was still cooling in El Paso.
It's not true to say America has never stood up to its internal arms race. In 1994, President Bill Clinton signed the Federal Assault Weapons Ban into law, effectively banning the manufacture of assault weapons for civilian use. It worked, but after National Rifle Association pressure, the ban expired under a "sunset" provision after 10 years in 2004 with no law to extend or replace it.
Since then, the US Government - fighting themselves, the constitution, and the National Rifle Association - has continually failed to pass any rational form of gun control legislation.
Editorial: The reason things have gone wrong for all Americans
This is not just a failure of the Trump Administration, it must be a mark on the two previous Presidents during the 15 years since the assault weapon ban expired.
After just one mass shooting, New Zealand took action. From 11am to 4pm tomorrow, the Whangamata War Memorial Hall will have police officers on hand to receive the freshly prohibited firearms as our nation's amnesty and buy-back scheme rolls on.
No one doubts US legislation is a tougher safety catch to deploy than New Zealand laws but no attempt to curb weapons of war has even yet begun, and it needs to.
Several senators, fighting for attention in the race to be Democrat candidate for the 2020 US presidential election, have again waded into the issue, even as the muzzle of the gun was still cooling in El Paso. But we have heard these words before, and surely it is time for the words to end and the actions to begin.
Both Democrats and Republicans need to get the message gun control doesn't lose votes. According to a 2018 Gallup poll, more than 60 per cent of Americans supported stricter gun control laws. That was before they were sickened by the images from Aurora, Illinois, in February; Virginia Beach in May; Chippewa Falls in Wisconsin in July; and these two latest atrocities.
One other message from El Paso, in particular, is that words matter. It appears the rampage was fueled by hate and intolerance. America now needs leaders who can de-escalate the raging fires of exclusion and suspicion, especially as far too many of its citizens have one ready finger on a rapid-fire trigger.
• This editorial has been updated since publication with more detail on the type of weapon used in the Ohio shooting