Thoughts about “Thoughts and Prayers”

It’s really upsetting to read about another school shooting like the one that happened yesterday in Florida.  I believe that there is a middle ground somewhere to be had so that basic freedoms are kept and guns are out of the hands of people that shouldn’t have them. The fact that the perpetrator of this heinous crime seems to have gotten the guns legally seems to indicate there is a failure somewhere in this process.

What exactly should be done is a debate for (maybe) another post. For the time being I’ll direct you to what I think is a very reasoned post from Reason.com (pun is completely unintentional – this time) about this topic. The main thing I wanted to talk about is the much maligned phrase “thoughts and prayers”. I think that people who lampoon, make fun, or chastise those who use the phrase are wrong. I completely understand their anger but I think it is misplaced.

It’s misplaced because this always falls along the political side you’re on about this topic. For example, those who believe that there should be very strict gun laws will only chastise the people on the other side of the opinion about using the phrase. If someone on their political team would use it there would be nothing but crickets. (I also think Twitter and the “hot take” have seriously degraded conversation and debate about controversal topics but that is maybe another post for another time.)

However the main thing reason these people should not be chastised is because right now what else is there to do for the people going through the hardship? Let’s take Joe (or Jane) Politician. Unless the politician is local to the incident, they really can’t do anything else. Could Politician have done something preventive so the horrific event doesn’t occur? Maybe they could have but in the here and now there isn’t really anything else Politician can do aside from offering “thoughts and prayers”.

Maybe you would argue that the politician really doesn’t mean that and they is just offering lip service? That is a very cynical approach to things and in a situation like a school shooting I would presume that the use of the phrase “thoughts and prayers” is heartfelt.

Let’s start trying to raise the level of discourse and start giving people who want to offer “thoughts and prayers” the benefit of the doubt that they really mean what they say.

Advertisements