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Georgia shooting: We tamper-proof Tylenol, but gun control is a no-go

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: A man armed with an assault rifle walks into a school …

OK, it’s no joke. And it wouldn’t be funny if it were.

On Tuesday, it happened again: “A 19-year-old man dressed in black and armed with an AK-47 assault rifle fired at least six shots at police from inside an elementary school in suburban Atlanta,” as my colleague David Zucchino reported.

Fortunately, this time -- unlike in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo., and Virginia Tech and, oh, you get the idea -- no one was hurt.

Not that that matters. Because as everyone knows by now, nothing, absolutely nothing, will be done about gun violence in this country, at least not by this Congress. The National Rifle Assn. and the conservative representatives and senators it owns have made sure of that. Remember the great background check loophole fiasco?

On Tuesday, a police officer reported that the alleged gunman said “I’m sorry -- I’m off my meds,” as he was taken into custody. So see? What good would background checks have done? Would they have stopped a disturbed person taking medication from getting a gun?

Uh, well, yes, actually, they might have. But we’ll never know.

Speaking of meds, though, here’s a thought: I’ve had a cold this week. I’ve been trying to take medicine. But, of course, every pill I try to take comes encased in tamper-proof packaging. You can’t open them with a crowbar.

It’s all thanks to the Great Tylenol Tampering Spree of 1982, in which seven people in the Chicago area died after taking Tylenol capsules that had been laced with cyanide. Seven people. And you know what happened next?

“Every time you open a bottle or package (of medicine, food or drink) that has tamper evidence features, a band around the lid or an interior seal, it is because of the Tylenol case.” That’s what Pan Demetrakakes, executive editor of Food & Drug Packaging magazine, told USA Today about the case.

So, seven people die from bad Tylenol, and just like that, tamper-proof packaging.

But 20 little kids were massacred in Newtown. And 12 people were shot and killed in Aurora, Colo. And 33 people were mowed down at Virginia Tech.

And on Tuesday, we got another taste of what we all now is coming again.

But what’s being done about it? A whole lot less than what’s been done to protect us from a few tainted capsules of Tylenol.

And that is a joke. It's just not funny.

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Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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