As an Australian with conservative values and close family ties to the United States, I find mass shootings like the recent unspeakable tragedy in Texas every shade of confusing.

There is little doubt that ready access to guns in America makes the murderous fantasies of the insane more accessible, tempting, and efficient.

On the other hand, a laser focus on gun laws ignores a whole host of underlying cultural rot that contributes to these nihilistic horrors. Where do we even start? The drug epidemic, mental health, the expulsion of God from public schools, violent video games, social media, and fatherlessness (the latter especially) all play their diabolical part.

And then there’s, you know, the “right” to kill unborn children.

“I think of child sacrifice as a modern phenomenon, a barbaric one that defines this country,” mourns Maureen Dowd in a New York Times piece entitled ‘America’s Human Sacrifices’. “We are sacrificing children, not only the ones who die, but also those who watch and those who fear the future. Children having their tomorrows taken away. Small sacrifice if we can keep our guns.”

Dowd certainly puts her finger on a problem there, but without the slightest trace of irony she continues: “The Republicans are doing everything they can to stop women from having control over their own bodies and doing nothing to stop the carnage against kids; they may as well change the party symbol from an elephant to an AR-15.”

Hang on. If the radical autonomy of “a woman’s right to choose” supersedes a child’s right to not be killed in the womb, why on earth should Americans be prevented from keeping their second amendment rights to bear arms? After all, merely owning a weapon is not the same as ending a life, which is precisely what every abortion achieves.

Dowd is right to invoke abortion, but she has done so for all the wrong reasons. If we’re going to discuss child sacrifice and abortion in the same breath, let’s begin with the 63,872,429 babies killed since the passage of Roe v Wade.

The irony was likewise lost on a slew of leftwing lawmakers who sought to score political points while the news of the Texas tragedy was still fresh.

“As a nation, we simply cannot allow this to continue. Every single day, children and young people are losing their lives to people who do not value the sanctity of life and take advantage of the unabated presence of firearms in our communities,” pro-abortion Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement.

Sanctity of life? If only we were really talking about that!

Abortion advocate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was pining for a tussle with Republicans in the aftermath. “There is no such thing as being ‘pro-life’ while supporting laws that let children be shot in their schools, elders in grocery stores, worshippers in their houses of faith, survivors by abusers, or anyone in a crowded place,” she wrote on Twitter. “It is an idolatry of violence. And it must end.”

The word “projection” springs to mind.

It was a grim spectacle in America last week — one that continued long after the last gunshot rang out. But to make the Uvalde tragedy all about gun laws is an exercise in mostly missing the point. And to weaponise it for political gain is unconscionable.

If every gun in America were confiscated tomorrow, the endemic mass killing of abortion would, if many of the Uvalde mourners had their way, remain.

Sure, let’s talk about gun laws. But let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that a technocratic tweak can alleviate America’s moral malaise. And may we never speak of child sacrifice again until we make wombs safer than a Texas school.

Kurt Mahlburg is a writer and author, and an emerging Australian voice on culture and the Christian faith. He has a passion for both the philosophical and the personal, drawing on his background as a graduate...