And "prayers?" I spent a good amount of my time this past weekend praying, so I do believe in the power of prayer. Yet, like thought without the strength of action, prayer alone amounts to little. I mean, shouldn't we really be praying for solutions to our problems and for guidance in how to resolve these problems? I fear most say "prayers" like they do when they casually come upon a stranger on the street and ask "How 'ya doing?" It's a cliche social construct created to seem civil but it lacks any real desire to know anything about the stranger. Nobody expects a response from the question because it's really not a question. It's a catch-phrase reduced to its simplicity of being an interchange without any real attachment. And so I fear for many, "prayers" are another type of detachment. It makes us feel better, but how many seriously seek answers and solutions and the strength to take action through prayer to end the violence and hate we now face throughout our divided society?
More must be done to protect Americans. All we hear is the need to be "on guard against terrorists", yet most Americans have been murdered by fellow Americans with legal weapons. Now don't get me wrong, I like guns and believe in the Second Amendment. I also believe that the Framers had no intention of arming citizens with the level of sophistication in weaponry they never could have imagined. I believe weapons should not be legal to possess by those with known mental illness or a history of making threats of violence. Ever wonder why the police need more and more sophisticated weaponry? Could it be because every backyard "Rambo" is armed to his teeth, all under the guise of being a "hunter" or "civilian protector?" Perhaps policing would be easier if high tech weaponry was not available to every citizen? These are the types of "thoughts" we should be engaged in as a nation. Prayers should be for the strength to actively combat interest groups specifically created to promote the use of weapons as the personal panacea for all that is wrong in America. Thus far (as of the time of this writing) the National Rifle Association remains silent on the Vegas tragedy. Yet the NRA is currently promoting Congressional expansion of gun rights to include the use of previously outlawed gun silencers (because nothing is more Second Amendment than the right to shoot "more quietly" and without obvious detection?). (See: www.politico.com/story/2017/09/12/gun-silencer-bill-republican-lawmakers-242595). Police are against such legislation, but the NRA has the cash to get virtually anything it wants done in Washington. And the people? "Thoughts" require actual thinking and many unfortunately seem to defer their thinking to the NRA and its supporting media when it comes to gun issues. (See: everytownresearch.org/h-r-367-is-dangerous-and-unnecessary-would-make-it-easier-to-buy-silencers-illegally/).
So let's all get going with our "thoughts and prayers" when it comes to gun tragedies in America. But can't we a least admit it means nothing without taking action to resolve the issue of spiraling gun violence? As President Theodore Roosevelt once wrote; "Rhetoric is a poor substitute for action, and we have trusted only to rhetoric. If we are really to be a great nation, we must not merely talk; we must act big." Try to have a great week.