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The mass shootings that regularly disrupt American life should not be viewed simply as random acts.

They reflect a steady unraveling of the sovereign authority of the state. Sovereignty, as the ultimate claim to authority, insists on at least two precepts: indivisibility and a monopoly on the legitimate exercise of force. Only the state, through its police power, is permitted to use violence in the state’s defense (whether from foreign attack or from domestic terror and criminality).

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