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Poem: The Blood-Spangled Banner

Erika Fine responds, in verse, to the the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. Pictured: Flags fly at half-staff around the Washington Monument at daybreak in Washington with the U.S. Capitol in the background Monday, June 13, 2016. President Barack Obama ordered flags lowered to half-staff to honor the victims of the Orlando nightclub shootings. (J. David Ake/AP.)
Erika Fine responds, in verse, to the the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. Pictured: Flags fly at half-staff around the Washington Monument at daybreak in Washington with the U.S. Capitol in the background Monday, June 13, 2016. President Barack Obama ordered flags lowered to half-staff to honor the victims of the Orlando nightclub shootings. (J. David Ake/AP.)
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Editor's note:

The 1994 ban on assault weapons lapsed in 2004. Attempts to renew it, even in the wake of the murders of 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in December, 2012, have failed. This week, after the House observed a moment of silence for the 49 people slain by Omar Mateen in the Pulse nightclub massacre, Senate Democrats staged a 15-hour filibuster in protest, forcing a "path forward" on gun control. Mateen's weapon of choice was a Sig Sauer MCX, a high capacity assault rifle designed for use by U.S. special forces. As long as such weapons are available for purchase in this country, says Cognoscenti contributor Erika Fine in her poem, "The Blood-Spangled Banner," a moment of silence is not enough. 

These tragic acts of wrath and hate
Are likely to proliferate
When men can saunter through a store
And buy a gun conceived for war,
When lies the N.R.A. has spread
Speak louder than the Newtown dead,
When fear of N.R.A. disdain
Numbs Congress to Orlando’s pain.
Assault guns, banned in ’94,
Are not illegal anymore.
The “right to bear” was misconstrued;
The prudent ban was not renewed.
A gun not meant for sport or play,
A gun designed for human prey,
A gun envisioned to destroy,
Is sold as if it were a toy.
The G.O.P. should be ashamed
That gun-rights zealots have them tamed.
A silent moment’s not enough
When laws are needed, sane and tough.

A crowd member holds up a sign as audience members applaud during a speech at a vigil downtown for those killed in a mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub Monday, June 13, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. (David Goldman/AP)
A crowd member holds up a sign as audience members applaud during a speech at a vigil downtown for those killed in a mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub Monday, June 13, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. (David Goldman/AP)

Read More Topical Verse By Erika Fine:

Erika Fine Cognoscenti contributor
Erika Fine is a freelance editor and writer.

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