That said.... It is a shame how we have let this tragedy push us further down the slippery slope that our nation (and most other 1st world countries) has been sliding down for decades. We are the least free that we've ever been, and it's getting worse daily. America is, and has been, in a position to move the world in any direction it wants (whether the rest of the world likes it or not) and it's a shame that we can't leverage that position to do some real good. America does many good things, but it also does some high profile dickish things; and those are what we are remembered for.
I know it's naive and unreasonably optimistic, but if we could collectively grow up and work together on building the culture that we so proudly proclaim we already have: A culture that values liberty, freedom, and all the other values we claim to have; then, maybe we could actually make the world a better place, starting with right here. It's a fools errand to work to that end though, it goes against human nature to actually care about others. It's much easier to pretend to, all the while thinking about yourself or maybe a select group you are attached to.
It doesn't matter if the American dream ever existed; we can still make it exist today if we all (including those at the top) want it to.