The angelic faces of the 20 children gunned down so mercilessly last Friday in Newtown, Connecticut will haunt us forever.

The horrific fate of the six faculty members who strived to protect their little children and died in the attempt will always remind us of the evil that men do.

One can only imagine their dreadful final moments as the horror closed in on them and their helpless little charges.

They suffered dreadfully, ripped apart in a hail of bullets, most receiving more than three gunshot wounds fired from an assault rifle more suitable for shooting at the Taliban than little children.

There are moments that define a nation forever, and we have reached one of them now.

The sullen silence from the National Rifle Association speaks volumes.

Normally by now they would be out with their weasel words and phony mantra about how guns don't kill people, people kill people.

But even the NRA does not dare to utter a word as long as those angelic faces are on every newscast and newspaper and their broken bodies are buried.

The NRA is gambling on the inertia in the political process that has allows them to forward their irredentist agenda by stealth and threat.

They are also gambling on amnesia in the general population who, after the initial furor, will shrug their shoulders and move along.

But not this time. We now know it is only a matter of when, not if, another mass shooting occurs. No school is safe, no child immune. 

Newtown is not the exception. Alas, mass shootings have become the norm here.

Rightfully, foreign countries are looking aghast at this carnage and wondering where has America gone so wrong?

Who can blame them?  Some 300 million weapons in the hands of Americans is 300 million too many, given what is being done with them.

There is no possibility of total gun control, but perhaps this massacre has finally pushed the needle of outrage past the point where action has to be taken.

But surely this time, it is time to cry enough? There is no right on earth that does not need restrictions and caveats attached to it.

The deadly agenda of the NRA has been to remove as many restrictions as possible so that gun manufacturers can mint profits and politicians cowed into silence.

So far they have succeeded, but their craven silence after Newtown is very telling.

One would love to hear their spokesman defend the use of assault rifles against children, or their explanation for how a deranged young killer had such unfettered access to guns.

Whose agenda was being served other than the gun manufacturers who have been laughing all the way to the bank as the pliant politicians do their will?

One courageous politician, New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, has stood up and demanded change.

He has been a voice in the wilderness until now, but there are encouraging signs that others will join him.

Why has it taken so long for our beloved country to wake up from this nightmare of legal assault weapons and mass shooting deaths?

We may never know the answer to that, but the faces of the dead in Newtown should haunt us until we take decisive action to curb the NRA and institute gun laws that protect the innocent and ensure that such an atrocity never happens again.

Time to take on the NRA after Newtown tragedyWhitney Curtis/Getty Images