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Enough “thoughts and prayers,” do something!

(Photo courtesy of the Associated Press)

There’s a vicious cycle in America. A mass shooting happens, people are killed and injured, shock and melancholy sets in across the nation – for about a week and a half. Then what? Well, thoughts and prayers, naturally, but then what? Absolutely nothing. That’s it.

In the United States, the term thoughts and prayers, while good-intentioned, has become the new, de-facto screw you. Ever since the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech, mass shootings have become the norm. Cowardly and lobbyist-beholden leaders have bowed down to the American gun lobby, namely the National Rifle Association.

Because of the NRA’s powerful grip and deep pockets, Congressional leaders on the right have offered their thoughts and prayers instead of meaningful, well-funded legislation to tackle gun violence and mental health issues.

After the horrific shooting in Las Vegas that left 59 dead and more than 500 wounded, Congressional Republicans and the White House offered their thoughts and prayers, while deriding the left for supposedly politicizing a tragedy. We’ve heard that one before: “it’s too soon to talk about gun control.” I heard that same sentiment after Newtown. I heard it after San Bernardino and Orlando. And I’m hearing it again now.

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Was it too soon for FDR to declare war on Japan mere days after Pearl Harbor? Was it too soon when Bush declared war days after 9/11? Was it too soon to send help to Louisiana after Katrina? No, it was not. So why is it too soon to talk about ways to combat a public health crisis like gun violence?

Your thoughts and prayers really haven’t done much, as sad as that realization is. Wishing and hoping and praying only gets you so far. Not only has the hackneyed good wish become a screw you, it has become a beacon of laziness and inaction. It’s so easy to tweet out your thoughts and prayers and then do absolutely nothing about it with your voting power.

It’s so easy to go on TV and proclaim that you are heartbroken for the families and victims and then turn around and vote the way the NRA pays you to despite the pleas from victims and family members.

Even as the horrific carnage unleashed in Las Vegas splashes across our screens, Congressional Republicans, after taking to Twitter to give thoughts and prayers, are still considering a measure to relax laws against gun silencers. Imagine how many more people would have died in Las Vegas if first responders couldn’t hear where the bullets were coming from.

It’s the same cowardice Congress showed after Newtown with background checks; after San Bernardino with ammunition rounds; after Orlando with the no-fly list. It’s always prayers and never any common-sense action.

Those thoughts and prayers are hollow when one doesn’t use their power, their vote and their voice to act on said prayers. We ask God what to do, and time after time he gives us the opportunity to stand up and do what is right and just, but then money and fear of not being re-elected get in the way.

It’s the biggest slap in the face to victims and the American public. It’s a pathetic cop-out. I no longer believe politicians when they say they are thinking about us in our times of need.

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