Opinion: Thoughts and prayers are welcome (except from politicians)


by Taylor Williams, Staff Writer

“Can’t you hear the children scream? Can’t you hear the children? Can’t you hear them? Can’t you hear them scream,” asked poet INQ. “Can’t you see the children? Can’t you see them? Can’t you see them bleed?”

American politicians pretend to be deaf and blind when these gruesome images flash across their television screens. Politicians can’t hear the screams or see the people dying, yet they know every line of this tragic story. Their thoughts and prayers always at the ready.

“My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting,” President Trump tweeted. “No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.”

It’s a sin to lie before God. Thoughts and prayers will not stop speeding bullets.

America is missing heart. Drowning in hate and greed so deep, it smothers the empathy and compassion needed to spark social change.

We the people are dispensable.

The argument always includes the same old tired excuse, the Second Amendment and that to stop a bad guy with a gun, there must be a good guy with a gun.

In the 20/20 episode, “If I Only Had A Gun” debunks this myth. People who were trained in using firearms failed to stop a mock active shooter during school shooting simulations.

The good guy with a gun fable is an excuse to ignore the real problem, which is the gun.  

Last week there, were five mass shootings. They happened, the few who cared shed their tears and as soon as their eyes were dry, they closed them. And only a week later it’s as if they never happened.

This damning cycle continues as the Nife Rifle Association ties politicians’ hands behind their backs, and greed stabs them in the heart. The NRA pays millions of dollars in campaign contributions, and each dollar might as well have the name of the next mass shooting victim etched on the side.   

According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 306 mass shootings in 2018. Americans swore up and down after shootings such as Columbine that it was time for change.

But the only change this country has seen since Columbine is children performing active-shooting drills and the hashtag “If I die in a school shooting.” And now, according to Everytown for Gun Safety, gun violence is the second leading cause of death for American children and teens

Columbine was the first trigger warning.

Gun violence no longer triggers tears.

The numbness is frightening.

My mother, a minister, said never tell someone you will pray for them if you do not mean it in your heart. In prayer, words without heart are useless.

While thoughts and prayers aren’t going to stop the bullet, they offer comfort.

In a Facebook post, the mother of Isabelle Laymance, who survived the shooting at  Sante Fe High School where 10 lives were taken, described how thoughts and prayers were all she and her family had as they prayed Isabelle would call her again while trapped inside the school.

Prayers matter when people have heart. Prayers offer healing.

My dad needed prayers when he saw his best friend get shot in the head. My mom needed prayers when her ex-boyfriend shot himself in the head. My family needed prayers when my cousin Taevon was shot and killed over the summer. My sisters needed prayers when they go to school, because on more than one occasion, students have brought loaded firearms into the halls of their school.

If getting down on your knees in prayer isn’t your thing, pure and true thoughts for the well-being of this country are just as powerful.

Politicians who care more about how many zeroes are coming in on their next paycheck can shove their fake sympathy where the sun doesn’t shine.

Arguments for gun rights haven’t changed, but the number of people who die from gun violence changes everyday. Politicians must stop treating discussions over gun control as inconveniences. What’s inconvenient is people losing their lives over a dollar.

Can’t you hear the people screaming?

In school. In a movie theater. In church. In a club. In a car. At a restaurant. At a concert. At home. On the street. In a bar. Recently it was in a hospital.

My thoughts and prayers are with them. Politicians can stop offering theirs and do their job.