America’s carnage destined to continue

Respect for the sanctity of life. Family values. A moral imperative to protect the children.

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Respect for the sanctity of life. Family values. A moral imperative to protect the children.

These have been primary talking points among U.S. Republicans during the past few months, as the Trump-stacked Supreme Court moves toward the long-cherished conservative goal of overturning Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that declared a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion constitutionally protected, thereby striking down many federal and state U.S. abortion laws.

Life. Family. Children. So very, very precious. And yet…

The hypocrisy of the so-called “pro-life” party’s signature rhetoric was once again exposed on Tuesday, when a mass shooting in an elementary school in small-town Texas took the lives of at least 19 children and two adults. Ten years after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and barely 10 days after the racist attack that killed 10 African Americans at a Buffalo, N.Y., supermarket, Americans are once again forced to consider the abject madness of their society’s infatuation with guns and the moral bankruptcy of the legislators who flatly refuse, for ideological, political and financial-gain reasons, to do anything to put an end to the carnage.

JAE C. HONG / THE ASSOCIATED PRESSFlowers placed around a welcome sign outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, honor victims killed in Tuesday’s shooting at the school.

The gunman who killed 19 innocent children in the south Texas town of Uvalde (pop. 16,000) was himself barely an adult, having procured his tools of terror — reportedly two military-style assault rifles — on or just after his 18th birthday, just six days before unleashing his deadly attack.

The purchase was perfectly legal in Texas, which has among the least restrictive gun laws in America, and where last June Gov. Greg Abbott, pledging his state would remain “a bastion of freedom” and “the leader in defending the Second Amendment,” signed into law seven measures making guns more easily accessible and transportable.

Ironically, Mr. Abbott is one of several elected officials — including former president Donald Trump — scheduled to address the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in Houston this week. One can’t help wondering how the lobby group’s oft-repeated mantra that “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” will be adapted to account for the murder of unarmed nine- and 10-year-old children.

In response to Tuesday’s massacre, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz — also a scheduled speaker at the NRA convention — predictably criticized Democrats and some media members for “politicizing” the shooting, and stated that restricting access to firearms would do nothing to prevent murders such as the one in Uvalde.

People react following the deadly school shooting in Texas.

Joined as he inevitably will be by other Republican lawmakers in the thrall and pocket of the powerful gun lobby, Mr. Cruz will do his level best to ensure that nothing, aside from the usual invocation of “thoughts and prayers,” will be done in response to America’s latest mass shooting.

The U.S. remains singular in its devotion to a notion of freedom that is defined by unfettered access to weaponry. It stands alone as a nation overwhelmed by continual gun violence and shackled by a lack of political will to do anything about it.

What occurred in Texas on Tuesday was the 27th school shooting this year in the U.S. In total, there have been more than 200 mass shootings on American soil in 2022. And we aren’t yet out of May.

This intractable American phenomenon, this uniquely American tragedy, is destined to continue. The blame belongs to the elected officials who hold fast to the idea that life begins at conception but somehow remain utterly disinterested in taking the necessary steps to ensure it doesn’t end scant years after birth in an elementary school classroom.

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