There seems to be an increasing number of people with mental health problems today in America. We know there are more guns in people’s hands.

Together, a deadly force is at work.

One tragedy after another and more innocent victims!

The latest at the Washington Navy Yard, where a gunman killed 12 people in a cafeteria, where they were having coffee or a breakfast snack before going to their jobs.

The suspected gunman, Aaron Alexis, who served in the Navy and worked as a private contractor at the Yard, was shot and killed.

News reports said Alexis had a history of mental health problems and firearm arrests but fell below the level that would have brought “a serious response.”

There have been the usual reports from people who knew him. They were surprised he was a mass killer. They never suspected he was a threat to others.

How often have we heard that?

There have been some cries for tighter gun controls after the latest mass killings. Others believe it is useless to make demands such as that because they know it’s not going to happen.

There have been demands that the government tighten up its hiring of private contractors. Better background checks have been called for, along with better security. Hiring armed guards is a growth industry, both in the government and private sector. That industry will continue to grow, along with the manufacture of guns and ammunition.

Even with more armed guards and other precautions, it is not possible to have 100 percent safety.

We can’t just throw up our arms and quit trying to curtail the violence. The war against violence will not be won, but there can be some battlefield victories.

It is impossible to know all of the people who are suffering from a mental illness. It is impossible to know when a mentally ill person is going to crack, and kill innocent people. It is impossible to keep guns out of the hands of every person who is mentally ill. Yes, we must try. We can’t give up despite the overwhelming odds that we can’t.

The truth is that we are going to have to live with violence. It’s now part of the American culture. The violence in early American history was minor compared to what we have today. The killings will continue — more people will be gunned down. We can pray and hope that those close to us will be spared.