The Death-Spangled Banner: Modern America’s Sad Anthem

Another massacre of schoolchildren. Another outpouring of thoughts and prayers. Another round of doing absolutely nothing to stop the madness.

J. Edward Les, MD

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Nothing will change.

If the massacre of twenty small schoolchildren in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, in 2012 wasn’t enough to spur meaningful changes to America’s gun laws, then neither will the fresh murder yesterday of nineteen small schoolchildren in Uvalde, Texas.

The twin mass slaughters of children are but grim signposts along the never-ending and ever-widening highway of gun-inflicted carnage. Reports of mass-shootings in the United States have become so routine as to rival the daily reporting of weather.

Shooters murder groups of Americans more frequently than the sun rises each morning. One hundred and forty-five days into 2022 there have already been more than two hundred mass shootingstwenty-seven of them at schools.

Americans tell themselves every time they sing their national anthem that they live in the land of the free and the home of the brave. But what is free, what is brave about allowing your kids to be murdered in place while they’re learning to read and write? Or about allowing your fellow citizens to be mowed down while they’re vacationing in Vegas, riding the subway, shopping for groceries, or enjoying a massage?

America has long been polarized, and never more so than now; her people divided politically and bitterly into opposing camps of Republicans and Democrats.

Republicans, by and large, consider themselves to be“pro-life”: they care intensely about the unborn. Yet they’re also generally pro-gun, fierce defenders of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms — the guns used to slaughter at random those that are born.

Democrats, on the other hand, are vociferously anti-gun. Every Sandy Hook or Columbine or Parkland or Uvalde understandably prompts a fresh chorus of outrage demanding strict regulation of gun ownership. Yet when it comes to abortion, they’re ardent supporters of a woman’s “right to choose” to end unborn life.

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J. Edward Les, MD

Pediatric emergency physician. Former veterinarian. Father. Writer. Cancer survivor.