The 18th mass shooting in the United States in the first 45 days of 2018 took the lives of 17 students and teachers.

What is going on? Why are little kids and devoted educators being murdered by maniacs with guns? Tell me why these brutal attacks appear to be happening primarily in the United States.

Gun attacks against civilians are nonexistent or rare in any country which isn’t experiencing a real war or mass insurrection. Of course, that does not include some unstable African or South American countries which have dictatorships or are enduring revolutions. But right here in the United States, which most of us consider to be the most advanced and happiest nation in the world, we have had excessive number of people of all ages being murdered by maniacs firing guns. Since the Newtown massacre, more than 400 people have been shot in more than 200 school shootings.

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Who could forget Newtown, where another maniac deliberatively murdered 20 young children and six adult teachers? How about the 26 people who were killed in a church in Texas, or the 58 men, women and children gunned down by a maniac at a concert in Las Vegas, or the 49 people killed at a nightclub in Orlando, Fla.? The latest atrocity occurred at the Marjory Douglas Stoneman High School in Parkland, Fla. 

The perpetrator, a 19-year-old named Nikolas Cruz, was captured and is awaiting prosecution. He was said to be a troublemaker. He was expelled from school and planned and executed a bloody revenge. Many of the other criminal attackers were either killed by police or committed suicide, but Cruz survived.

So, what are we going to do about these terrible crimes right here in our own country? I don’t like to accuse anyone, but I believe politics has played a big part in this tragedy. President Donald Trump and the Republican leadership in Congress have refused to take any meaningful steps to enact stricter gun control laws such as requiring universal background checks for buyers of guns that might slow or even stop gun violence. And the Republican majority refuses to support the 80 percent of Americans who want to see assault weapons taken out of the hands of civilians.

The Republican majority in Congress has blocked any real effort to stop gun violence.

“The only people who do not support any legislation to stop gun violence are the employees of the National Rifle Association and the Republican politicians who they own,” according to Moveon, a Political Action Group. “This tiny group of people are holding the rest of our lives hostage. The blood is on their hands.”