Nothing like another mass shooting in America to bring us all together…to agree that we’re totally divided. In our highly politicized time we want you to politicize everything, including emotions and platitudes. It’s a pretty sad statement that bodies can’t cool off, family members can’t even know if they’ve lost someone, and people can’t mourn before we turn to the inevitability of politicizing an event. In terms of gun control, that goes for both sides, with some lashing out with the irrational emotional response of “BAN ALL THE GUNS!” while others lash out with the equally irrational response of “THEY’RE GOING TO BAN ALL THE GUNS!” All the while, nothing ever actually happens.
Thus, some people offer up “thoughts and prayers” to the victims and family members. But now, even that is controversial. To be fair, even within the Christian tradition the platitude “thoughts and prayers” can sometimes ring empty. James 2:15-16 says, “If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?” I guess James was one of the first people to say, “Your thoughts and prayers really don’t mean much without action.” But the level of public shaming and disdain people hold toward those who say “thoughts and prayers” is honestly absurd.
In many ways, it’s nothing more than virtue signaling for both sides. One side gets to feel pious for offering thoughts and prayers while doing nothing, and the other side gets to feel morally superior for pointing out that one side isn’t doing anything…which really doesn’t do anything. In the end, both sides are engaging in nothing more than moral masturbation, fulfilling their own requirements to feel morally valid, while not really doing anything about stopping gun violence. Absolutely fantastic!
We also have to ask what can be done. There’s a better chance of Donald Trump setting aside time for a national viewing of the infamous and mythical “Pee Tape” and resigning afterwards than there is for Congress to ban guns or pass any significant gun control measures. Under President Clinton, who had a Democratic majority his first term, there wasn’t any significant gun legislation passed that limited people’s rights. If it didn’t happen then, it won’t happen now. For God’s sake, we can’t get Congress to ban bumper stocks; what makes you think they’d have enough votes to overturn or amend the 2nd Amendment?
With the above in mind, can we cease with the emotional outbursts? Can we stop with the “TAKE ALL THE GUNS” and the “WE’RE GOING TO LOSE ALL THE GUNS” rhetoric and start working toward an actual change? Can we allow people to express their thoughts and prayers without getting mad at them, but offering to work with them on a solution? After all, for the average person such mass violence seems unstoppable, so they feel there isn’t much more than can offer than thoughts and prayers; and for them, there’s an honest belief that through prayer people will receive some sort of peace.
Agree or disagree, but chastising those people only feeds into the view that liberals are smug and deserve what they get under Trump. So, can we cut the bullshit and actually find ways to curb violence? Yes, Pandora’s Box has been opened and we can never eradicate gun violence completely in this nation because we can never eradicate guns, but we can pass sensible gun legislation that doesn’t violate the 2nd Amendment, but at least helps curb gun violence? I think that’d at least be a start in the right direction.