I have to come clean: I used to be a person who offered “thoughts and prayers” in the wake of tragedy.
I remember when that changed for me. It was December 2012, and twenty…
first-graders were slaughtered in Sandy Hook. I remember thinking, “Oh, there is NO WAY we as a culture don’t make immediate and drastic changes to our gun laws! They just shot a bunch of kids in the face!” I wrote a column about it that got picked up by HuffPo and MSNBC.
Unfortunately, thoughts and prayers were all that were put forward, and there have been almost a thousand mass shootings since Sandy Hook. (and not a single new law or safety measure passed)
Maybe we aren’t praying right? James 2:17 – “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
Turns out even The Bible knows that you have to back that prayer up with some action.
There were comments on my Facebook page about how insenitive I was for pointing out that people who are offering their thoughts and prayers for the Orlando shooting victims were doing literally NOTHING to help them, or prevent the next inevitable mass shooting in the not-too-distant-future. I made a post about how thoughts and prayers were an acceptible substitute for food and water for a starving child, and how thoughts and prayers can cure cancer almost as effectively as chemothereapy and medicine. A bit insensitive? Maybe – But hopefully the light bulb went off that there is more to be done than thinking and praying – at least for a few people.
You have probably heard the expression “it’s the thought that counts.” It was intended mostly for your well-meaning aunt who tries to knit you a scarf for Christmas, not for murder victims.
Here’s the thing: Your aunt still invested her energy into HER thought. She went down to the scarf-making supply store. She spent money on scarf-making items. She came home and invested hours of her time into her gift to you. She tried. In that circumstance: Her thoughts count.
If I walk by you on the street and say, “Hey, I just want you to know… I thought about buying you a Ferrari. I mean, I didn’t. In fact, I didn’t put one bit of actual effort into trying. However, I want you to know… I thought about it. Hell, I even prayed that you’d get one!” You’d rightfully look at me like I was an asshole.
Maybe in the time that it takes you to offer your thoughts and prayers, you can look up your elected officials and give them a phone call to let them know that you expect MORE than thoughts and prayers this time. Let them know that it’s not acceptable that a guy with a history of domestic violence with a reputation for hate speech and homophobic behavior at work, and who was TWICE investigated by the FBI for ties to terrorism should NOT be able to walk into an Orlando gun store, buy an assault rifle, and shoot over 100 people.
It turns out thoughts and prayers don’t stop bullets, either.
If you would like to donate to the victims, here is a link set up by Equality Florida.