This policeman needs to drop its weapons

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It is beyond question that America is the most powerful nation on the planet which explains why it has so many enemies.

Of course there is a case for the prosecution as the USA has long revelled in its role as the world’s policeman.

It is this insistence on keeping everybody else in order while seemingly overlooking its own shortcomings which earns the States many of its brickbats.

The single biggest obstacle in the way of it ridding itself of its image problem is its risible gun controls a fact highlighted on an almost weekly basis following killings so appalling they warrant global news coverage.

It seems with every massacre that a new milestone in barbarity is surpassed whether it is the slaying of a classroom full of innocents to the deaths of cinema goers or worshippers attending a prayer meeting.

Last week America achieved a new unwanted first: its first live broadcast murders which were aired to both viewers of a local breakfast news programme and users of social media. The deaths of two local journalists as they produced an item on something as innocuous as the tourism economy in a, hitherto, anonymous corner of Virginia were shocking because it crossed a new line.

You got a sense the nation was shocked by the senseless nature of it all but America was shocked by the killing of nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in June and the murders of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook School three years ago but we are yet to see any real fundamental changes to the way firearms are regulated.

Should we care? Absolutely, because as long as America struggles to keep its own people safe - some 30,000 deaths including suicides are attributed to firearms each year - then how can it preach morality to the rest of the world?

US politicians including President Obama have been queuing up to tell Britons why we should vote to stay in the European Union when a referendum is eventually held. They should get their own house in order first.

If there was a single thing killing 30,000 Brits or Spaniards each year then you can guarantee a delegation would be sent from Washington to sort it out. If America wants to continue being taken seriously then it has to get serious about gun control.