Offering “thoughts and prayers” after children are killed just isn’t going to cut it anymore
The 18th school shooting to take place in the first 45 days of 2018 killed 17 people, most of them teenage students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, yesterday. As usual, politicians have been offering their “thoughts and prayers” to the victims, their families and everyone else touched by another of the shockingly common acts of horrific violence that plague America. And it’s about time we told them, loud and clear, that their “thoughts and prayers” are just not enough.
On Twitter, that’s exactly what people are saying. One of the many, many people who spoke out was a student who survived yesterday’s shooting, telling lawmakers that it’s time for them to actually act.
But will this be the time that politicians stop offering their hollow “thoughts and prayers” and start taking action? Unlikely. Too many of them are paid for by the National Rifle Association, which is staying silent today (as usual, after an act of horrifying gun violence) and continuing to pump money into the pockets of politicians to stop them from passing any sort of common sense legislation that would stop these massacres from happening. Writer Bess Kalb responded to the tweets of politicians offering their thoughts, prayers and condolences with the amounts of money they’ve accepted in NRA donations.
Others are just exhaustedly begging lawmakers to do something — anything — other than continue to throw up their hands at a problem that literally no other developed nation has.
It just has to end somewhere, right? Can this actually keep going on forever? There’s one thing that’s for sure: We know what works to stop this kind of violence. We have years of data from other countries that have sensible gun control measures and where this doesn’t happen. We don’t have to be like this. We can follow other countries’ lead and stop these shootings from happening. But that will take action from lawmakers who, so far, have never been willing to offer anything more than “thoughts and prayers.” And as long as all they do is send platitudes, more children will die.