ANOTHER massacre of the innocents in an American school came as no surprise to me after a rugby tour to Texas and Louisiana a few years back.
It seemed like everybody had a gun of some kind, and my generous host Pablo from Dallas boasted a full armory of weapons.
During a drive across the desert for some white water rafting along the Rio Grande when the rugby games were over, we stopped overnight in a motel in the middle of nowhere.
Checking into our room he proceeded to unload a kit bag full of guns from pistols to military assault rifles and the ammo to go with them.
Querying why he had brought so much firepower with him he responded: ‘John, when you are in a strange place it’s a comfort to have a weapon by your bedside.’
Fortunately he did not need to defend us, and next day offered to give me some shooting practice.
It would have been a bit rude to turn down the opportunity, so he set up some targets of tin cans in the desert.
I was a bit apprehensive but soon got the hang of just squeezing the trigger and hitting a few of the cans.
It was all so easy, and he generously offered to give me a gun to take home as a souvenir.
When I explained I would be arrested if I tried to bring a pistol into the UK, he was very surprised.
Anybody over 18, even if they are unstable, can buy a firearm in Texas, which has resulted in hundreds of children and adults being slaughtered. And it seems to be getting worse.
The border with Mexico appeared to be wide open on the remote stretch of the Rio Grande we visisted, and if you whistled, an old chap with a rowing boat would come across, and for a few dollars take you across into Mexico, where there was a nice restaurant about a mile into the desert.
Certainly there were no border patrols to worry about.
Picking up a local paper at the airport on the way home the headline was about a mass shooting in a bar in adjoining Fort Worth.
Most Texans and Americans are very hospitable, but I was glad to be heading back to the relative safety of the UK.