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.
Here is the response by a student who survived the carnage of yesterday's school shooting that has so far claimed 17 lives. Listen to Sarah. Prayers are meaningless. pic.twitter.com/bt4y45EGk8— Tilda Eulenspiegel (@mommadyl) February 15, 2018
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.
Their thoughts and prayers mean nothing.
We must replace them all.
— Beau Willimon (@BeauWillimon) February 14, 2018
When is enough, enough!?! How much bloodshed, how many more deaths!?!
My heart breaks at the news from Florida.
I mourn the senseless loss of life. This must not be normal, such carnage must not be routine.
Thoughts and prayers are not enough.
Our nation must act.
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) February 14, 2018
How this is going to go:
America: Outrage, sadness
NRA: Complete silence
NRA supporter in DC: Thoughts and prayers
WH: Statement of grief, praise 1st responders
Media: Lamentations, coverage of funerals, candlelight vigils
Adds up to: Nothing changes#RepeatTheRitual
— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) February 15, 2018
It's funny how in the space of just a few years the phrase "thoughts and prayers" has become the functional political equivalent of "We're actually just fine with letting your children die in a school shooting."
— John Scalzi (@scalzi) February 15, 2018
Rather than campaigning for re-election this year, maybe Paul Ryan and the rest of the GOP should just try thoughts and prayers, and see how that works out for them.
— John Aravosis (@aravosis) February 15, 2018
No more thoughts and prayers.
No more proclamations.
No more pretending we can’t do anything.
No more talk of politicizing tragedy.
No more apathy.
No more caring what the NRA thinks.
No more letting our kids die.
We must stop this.
— Bryce Tache (@brycetache) February 15, 2018
Thoughts and prayers are not enough. This violence is a national emergency! Congress needs to act NOW on gun safety, increased school safety measures, and comprehensive mental health and addiction services.
— Sen. Debbie Stabenow (@SenStabenow) February 15, 2018
Hey pols. Instead of “thoughts and prayers” simply tweet “T&P”. Saves time and just as effective. Also, the caps show you really care..
— Jack Maxwell (@SouthieJack) February 15, 2018
It’s almost like thoughts and prayers aren’t doing shit.
— Jeff Cannata (@jeffcannata) February 15, 2018
Y'all keep saying mass shooters are all insane but you're the ones who keep sending the same thoughts and prayers every time and expecting everything to be different next time.
— The Gay Burn Book (@SouthernHomo) February 15, 2018
— Justice Democrats (@justicedems) February 15, 2018
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.