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02/06/2013

Arizona lawyers twitchy after shooting

Hummels

You can't blame lawyers in Arizona for being twitchy.

Top lawyer Mark Hummels (pictured at right) was laid to rest yesterday after he and his client Steve Singer were fatally shot during a meditaion meeting in Phoenix - a peace-making mission gone horribly bad.

It was another tragic day in America where more than 80 people die everyday from fireams.

Gun deaths in the United States are now on track to exceed traffic deaths by 2015.

Disgruntled gunman Arthur Harmon had sued Singer in a contract dispute. But mid-mediation, and apparently innocently, Harmon excused himself saying he had to fetch something from his car. When he didn't return Hummels and Singer made their way down a stairwell to find him.

They did - and were shot to death.

Arizona has long been a gun-friendly state as I learned last year on a visit to a gun show in Glendale, a Phoeniz suburb. There, months before the tragedy of Newtown, the anti-Obama animus was deeply disturbing. You have to wonder when the madness will end. But gun culture is so deeply embedded in America that - even after Newtown - President Obama is certain to face an uphill battle in his fight for reforms.

Bill Schiller has held bureau postings for the Toronto Star in Johannesburg, Berlin, London and Beijing. He is a NNA and Amnesty International Award winner, and a Harvard Nieman Fellow from the class of '06. Follow him on Twitter @wschiller

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