The True Prayer for Mass Shooting Victims Is Real Reform
On receiving the devastating news about the latest mass shooting in Florida, President Donald Trump, in full presidential mode, rose to the occasion with a tweet — offering his thoughts and prayers for the victims and their families:
“My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting.”
The word gun was glaringly absent.
He also failed to mention the word “gun” at all during his first presidential address on the subject, though he has now proposed a minor ban on the most extreme form of gun bumpers.
In response to the Florida massacre and other mass shootings, politicians — primarily Republican — typically echo prayer offerings — while failing to mention guns or the issue of gun control. When asked about this, they insist that gun tragedies are not the time to discuss gun control. But their lack of action on this issue at other times tells us that for them, it’s never the right time.
What these blind adherents of the NRA’s propaganda fail to note is that their prayers are not working.
In fact, as their prayers escalate to deafening decibels, gun violence in America also rises.
Since 20 children (between ages six and seven) and six adults were killed in the 2012 massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, there have been at least 200 additional shootings in schools — with more than 400 people shot and 138 of them killed.
After years of prayers, the greatest loss of lives from gun violence in modern times occurred on October 1, 2017, at the Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas. Fifty-nine concertgoers were killed, and hundreds were wounded by a lone shooter with assault weapons.
And now, following 17 gunshot incidents in schools in just the first six weeks of 2018, the latest shooting claimed the staggering loss of 14 high school students, and three adults. The victims at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County, Florida, were ambushed by a young killer with an AR-15 semi-automatic weapon.
Politicians: Don’t you get it? Whomever you are praying to is not answering your prayers.
Or perhaps they are, but the money you get from the NRA, which fuels your worship of guns, prevents you from hearing their answer — and even trumps concern for the safety of your own children and grandchildren.
For Christians and Jews, surely God has heard your prayers. In not responding to your implicit plea that He take care of the problem, God may be sending a strong message that you refuse to hear: “I’ve given you the power of choice. You can choose to get rid of the God-damned guns.”
Bernard Starr, PhD, is professor emeritus at the City University of New York, Brooklyn College. His latest book is “Jesus, Jews, And Anti-Semitism In Art: How Renaissance Art Erased Jesus’ Jewish Identity & How Today’s Artists Are Restoring It.”