The Founding Fathers worried that "some common impulse of passion" might lead many to subvert the rights of the few. It's a rational fear, one that is played out endlessly. Obama, who understands how to utilize public passion better than most, flew some of the Newtown families to Washington for a rally, imploring Americans to put "politics" aside and stop engaging in "political stunts." This is, by any measure, a preposterous assertion coming from a politician piggybacking tragic events for political gain. It would have been one thing, I suppose, if the gun control legislation written in the aftershock of a gruesome massacre had anything to do with the topic at hand. But what senators came up with would have done nothing to stop the shooter in Newtown -- or the one in Aurora, Colo. Passions can be aggravated by events, but in this case, events have little to do with the policy at hand.
The President's gun control bill failed in the Senate. That's a feature of the American political system, not a bug. The Senate is supposed to move slowly on legislation—and reject much—to ensure that whatever passes is passed by cool-minded individuals. The alternative is bad laws like the Patriot Act, which passed with no deliberation whatsoever.