Thoughts and prayers are not enough

The GOP’s inaction shows deep indifference towards stopping mass shootings.

Another mass shooting happened yesterday. This time, it was the deadliest one in recent history, with at least 58 dead and over 500 wounded. A single armed man permanently snuffed out dozens of lives and profoundly affected thousands more.

Don’t you wish we could get back to the good ol’ days of 2016 when the previous mass shooting record was only a paltry 49 dead and 58 injured?

I wrote about that one too. It seems that mass shootings are the one thing where I can’t keep my mouth shut. And even after a year, we’re no closer to ending these tragedies.

You know these shootings are out of control when the Wikipedia page 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting has the following across the top:

“Orlando shooting” redirects here. For the 2017 shooting, see 2017 Orlando shooting.

I didn’t even know there was a 2017 shooting in Orlando. They’re so commonplace that most of them don’t make national news!

There have been 1516 mass shootings in 1735 days. That’s 9 out of 10 days, for 4.5 years. How do we continue to watch these horrific events take place without doing something, anything, to stop them.

I looked through the Twitter feeds of a few well-known GOP Senators, and what I found was a deafening silence. No calls to action to fix this. However, I did find plenty of “thoughts and prayers”:

I also looked at the Democrats:

What an astounding difference! To those who will accuse me of cherry picking, I found plenty of thoughts and prayers among Democrats as well. But the only time I saw rallying cries for Congress to act was from Democratic Senators. (I only took a small sample, so if you find some Republican representatives calling for gun control, please let me know. I would love to be wrong on this.)

It’s time that we do something. I’m glad at least one party has a conscience.

But even now, with thousands of people begging for change, nothing will happen. When the GOP’s platform can legitimately be reduced to “thoughts and prayers”, you know you’re fucked.

Thoughts and prayers are nice, but they’re obviously not enough. In fact, they’re worse than doing nothing.

Prayers have an efficacy level of literally zero. Thoughts are roughly the same. The mantra “thoughts and prayers” is nothing more than a way to make us feel better about ourselves, as if we’ve done something to help.

I’m all for expressing sympathy for those affected by these atrocities. We should be thinking about what’s happening. But if we do nothing more than think and pray, these mass shootings will continue day in and day out.

We can’t keep allowing this to happen. We have to take action. Action means voting out those senators who are in the NRA’s pocket, replacing them with someone who actually gives a damn. It means calling your representatives and letting them know that inaction will cost them votes. It means running for government ourselves, since nobody else will do it.

Doing nothing has gotten us nowhere. The Republicans seem to think that the answer is more guns, not less. But we’ve tried that. America has almost half of the world’s civilian-owned guns. We only have four percent of the population. That’s insane.

More guns will not work.

Do you know what works? Regulation. Just look at this massive wall of charts proving the efficacy of regulating gun access. Here’s a sample of the facts:

  • “America has six times as many firearm homicides as Canada, and nearly 16 times as many as Germany”
  • “States with more guns have more gun deaths”
  • “It’s not just the US: Developed countries with more guns also have more gun deaths”
  • “States with tighter gun control laws have fewer gun-related deaths”

Hm. It’s almost as if more guns means more opportunities for them to be used for their intended purpose: killing.

And yes, correlation doesn’t always mean causation. But arming every man, woman, and child clearly isn’t working. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. Our inaction is shameful and insane — future generations will look back on this time as one of the great moral failings of our country. The United States is already viewed that way abroad.

So what kind of regulation is there? Well, since banning all guns is an ignorant pipe dream (at least in today’s political climate), we have to take smaller steps.

It’s not difficult to come up with ideas. Plenty of them have been around for decades, but we haven’t cared enough about the senseless slaughter of thousands to actually write them into law.

Here are just a few that would easily cut down gun violence:

  • Background checks
  • Mental health checks
  • Tracking gun sales
  • Requiring gun safety courses and licensing

We have many regulations around owning a vehicle. Those regulations keep our roads safe, and people would protest if we removed them. But a vehicle’s primary function is not to wound or kill. A gun’s purpose is just that. So how the hell do we justify not regulating guns?

It’s pure insanity.

But you help can make a difference by taking action. To make it easy, here are two links to help you find your representatives:

Call them today. Email them tomorrow. Tweet at them the next day. Attend their town hall next month. Let them know that you won’t stand for this kind of inaction — especially if they’re a Republican.

Don’t stop until something is finally done to curb this senseless violence.

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