Thoughts and Prayers: An Unhealthy Normal

Source: WPClipart

I’m a news junkie. I follow events pretty much all day long as I go from one activity to the next, and I read from sources that are derisively labeled by some as mainstream. The whole term “mainstream media” during the last decade or so is an example of this cultural divide which is separating Americans from one another. Like the “tasseled-loafer” epithet of the Reagan/Bush years, reading from, say, the Washington Post, the National Review, or apparently even the Arizona Republic, one is likely to be painted as a sycophant to the establishment. My news of record might be your deep state enabler.

But I’m not looking for validation here on where I go for the truth or where you find yours. We can agree to disagree on matters of Russian interference in our elections, the dangers of transgenders using bathrooms, or those pesky death panels still in Obamacare. I’ve got all the time in the world to sit down with you and debate. Hell, I’ll even supply some good whiskey and vermouth to mix a killer Manhat…. oh, right. Those damn tassels are giving me away again, aren’t they? Well, we can just crack open a beer then. My point is that we don’t need some loudmouth cable news personality on Fox News or MSNBC to deliver us talking points. You and I are collectively capable of doing this on our own if we really want to.

Where I don’t have all the time, however, is once again on the subject of guns. Specifically semi-automatic assault rifles.¹ We are literally killing ourselves in this country because of a twisted, irrational, and uncompromising stranglehold which the gun lobby has successfully ensnared over members of Congress. The NRA and its brethren will not stand for any serious controls on firearms no matter how much the general public supports legislative initiatives to do so. I think what I find most heartbreaking in the aftermath of the recent shootings in Florida, are the students who plaintively ask leaders in Tallahassee and Washington to protect them through just such legislation. Their pleas aren’t rhetorical theatrics spoon-fed by parents and gun control advocates. They are real and actual human responses to a tragedy.

By the same token, what galls me more than anything, once again, are the reactions from elected officials who offer their thoughts and prayers but absolutely nothing in the way of statutory remedies. I for one am sick and tired of such meaningless platitudes. People are dying because of your inaction, and all you can offer the victims and their families are your prayers? Please.

Earlier today I called Senator Marco Rubio’s office in Washington, DC to let his staff know of my impatience with Congress on the issue of protecting Americans from guns. It is one phone call, one constituent, and one minuscule crack in an impenetrable shield that the NRA has constructed on Capitol Hill. But cracks can over time make a body become unstable.

So I ask plead with you to help create more of these cracks. You can find your senator or representative’s phone by using Google or from this very handy directory. Just tell the person who answers the phone why you’re calling. They’ll possibly ask you for your name, but more than likely they’ll just ask for your city and/or zip code. My call took literally a minute to complete. Call them. Let them know how you feel.

I’ll let Jimmy Kimmel have the last word. His are for more powerful than mine.

Until next time…

¹ Sadly, I have written previously on this topic here, here, and here

 

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44 thoughts on “Thoughts and Prayers: An Unhealthy Normal

  1. yes, Yes, Y E S!!! What happened to common sense in this country? And if we weren’t able to get our gun laws changed when young school children were shot up and killed in a CT elementary school, how are we ever going to get compassion/love/good common sense to make a difference in each shooting thereafter?
    I just hope you’re right – that enough of us can make a crack in the NRA/Congress wall to make it tumble down. And you’re right, we each need to make that phone call. Thanks for a fabulous post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I really agree with you, Pamela. That there was this hard pushback on the Sandy Hook shootings, it’s hard to really fathom that any other kind of tragedy will get them to finally protect us. But good lord, time after time and again people are dying needlessly from guns. It’s getting to be normalized in a way that I find scary. Many thanks for both reading and your potential advocacy and personal involvement.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Retirement Reflections

    Hi, Marty – History has repeatedly proven that one person joined by one person joined by one person…… can and does make a huge difference. Thank you for calling your Senator’s Office, and for publishing this post. I encourage others to do the same. Shared on Social Media.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Please, please, please let something happen. I am still incredulous that after Sandy Hook our elected officials will point to a single person killing 8 people and injuring 13 others by running a truck into them as terrorism, while a shooter can kill 17 and wound 13, and yet another shooter can kill 58 and injure 851 and the officials refer to it as a mental illness issue with no reason to think that access to these weapons is in any way contributing to the plague. (Sorry for that run on sentence and tirade.)

    I am ashamed of this country for this attitude.

    I need to find some place to calm down again. Grrrrrr.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I think all of us can run on and on about this by now, Eddie. Your exasperation is completely on the mark.

      The president ran on a belief that the world was laughing at us. Well, I don’t know about that. But I do think it thinks that we have lost our minds. It sure seems so sometimes.

      Like

      1. The NRA uses tactics akin to blackmail to keep their Congress people in line. If a Rubio or Cruz pushes back, the NRA throws all of its money and support behind an opponent. Until we get big money out of politics we will have this kind of stonewalling. And more children will die.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I was disappointed when something didn’t happen after Sandy Hook. They were babies really. If we don’t care about protecting the little ones, I don’t hold out much hope. I will continue to do whatever is in my power to make it happen. And the answer is not having guns in the schools.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am hanging my head in shame that our country puts campaign donations and the right to own killing machines before the rights of our citizens to come home safely every day. My state’s two senators support sensible gun laws, as does my congressman. I guess I could write to Trump, but I doubt I would be able to do so without using vulgarity (and words with more than one or two syllables).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I really don’t know what the answer is. I know that some senseless tragedy happens, people are killed, people are outraged, people call for action and then….everything goes stagnant until…the next time.
    If I owned a gun shop, I would hope that I would raise an eyebrow if somebody came into my store, bought assault weapons and enough rounds to wipe out a small army…but if I refused to sell them, would I have the NRA tying to shut down my store? The constitution says we have a right to bear arms.
    It’s sort of like liquor stores. There’s one close by. The owner knows my son is a hopeless alcoholic, yet she never fails to sell him a pint or two…even if he can barely stagger into the store. He has a right to purchase alcohol.
    I don’t think we can police everybody but we can sure open our eyes and look for signs. We can look for bullies and try to stop them. We can look for silent pleas for help and try to be there. We can be a little more serious about “see something, say something.”
    Like I said. I really don’t know what the answer is…. but I do know this.
    It will happen again.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I couldn’t agree with you more Marty! Thank you for this (what I see as a…) hopeful post. I have lost many “friends” on Facebook (and in real life) because I am very outspoken politically (in a good way – no fake news. I always check sources. And refrain from name calling. It’s hard sometimes….) Often I feel like I’m spitting in the wind. I constantly encourage people to call their Congressional representatives as well as their state representatives (’cause I’m convinced it all starts on the state level.) My last two lines are always the same… “Be brave. Don’t be silent.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sage advice if there was any, AGMA. I gave up on Facebook after Charlottesville when all it did was bring out the worst (and admittedly the best too) in some of my friends. I decided it was easier and more efficient to occasionally take my blog down that road rather than something I can’t control as well. But no matter how we do it, it’s important to cajole, teach, and implore others to do the right thing.

      Many thanks for taking the time to comment here.

      Like

  8. Thank you Marty for speaking out and for sharing advice on what we can do about this problem beyond thoughts and prayers. I don’t belittle the healing energy that I hope we are all sending out, but it’s time to do more than that. I’ve been telling myself that there is nothing I can do about it, but that can’t be true. I commit to three firm actions. 1) Closely examine myself. Am I doing anything that may desensitize me to violence or glorify it in any way? Am I doing everything I can to spread lovingkindness in my thoughts and actions? 2) Who in my family and community needs my support and love? Offer it now. 3) Make my voice heard to those in power. Thank you for helping me with #3.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Christie. I think that as private citizens the power of thoughts and prayers can’t be overestimated. But we do elect our public officials to act in accordance with the safety of the greater public’s interest at heart. If they abdicate that responsibility then there’s a serious breakdown in the public’s trust. You, however, have made personal promises to yourself that I think advance a betterment towards the common good. I applaud you for that! Many thanks for taking the time to read my post and comment.

      Like

  9. I used to be a news junkie. But I don’t think the news is news so much anymore as it is entertainment. Or, perhaps, it was always this way and I changed. Either way, I miss it.

    The NRA would give me an F. I’m hardcore. Nobody should own an assault rifle. I want them banned and, yes, I want them taken away from you. That wouldn’t go over well. I hate so sound cynical but I don’t think anything will result of this latest tragedy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The bashing of the students has already begun, much quicker than that which took place against the Sandy Hook parents. We’ll see if their youthful naiveté can make a difference this time. We can always hope… Many thanks for your comment.

      Like

  10. Thoughts and prayers are Plan B. Plan A is commonsense gun laws that keep schools safe. I’ve lost respect for many of my fellow Americans [family and neighbors] starting with Sandy Hook, and now with the latest [normal?] attack on children I’m wondering how this American gun obsession is going to resolve itself. I am encouraged by the kids who are going to DC to make their point. They are the future of this country.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I couldn’t agree more, Ally. The president ran on a theme (well, at least it was of many he had for longer than one rally anyway) that the world was laughing at us. Well, if that’s true then he’s been able to stop that in hisser of office. They’re now appalled by us. We have an invasive gun culture that now permeates seemingly every corner of life. I took a peek at the grocery store magazine section yesterday and was shocked to see three entire rows of gun magazines (many featuring assault rifles on the covers, btw). At the grocery store!!!

      I too am encouraged by these high school students. May they march and speak with grace and fortitude. Thanks ever so much for your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank you for this post Marty. My friend said last week that she wanted to do something to draw attention to the crisis, and I responded, “you can try all you want, but nothing is going to change.” And then I realized that my defeatist attitude is part of the problem. If we want gun laws to change, everyone is going to have to get a lot more active. Sitting back and waiting for legislators to do the right thing has gotten us to this place.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed, G. I am completely pessimistic on the actual realities of changing this awful gun/violent culture that seems imbedded into the American psyche. But we’ve gotten through bad times before (i.e. slavery, McCarthyism, John Birch Society, Watergate), and I also feel that the darkest hour is just before the dawn (with apologies to David Crosby). So we need to still fight back using the tools of democracy. It’s a messy fight but still needs to be waged. Many thanks for your thoughts here…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. No truer words can be said, Claremary. I vacillate constantly between despair and hope on this subject, but in the last week I’ve been hopeful. The NRA is being attacked in ways I haven’t quite ever seen, and that’s a positive development. May it blossom into something helpful. Many thanks for your comments here.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: Waterworks – Snakes in the Grass

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