There’s nothing wrong with thoughts and prayers. I mean, they’re completely fucking useless, but there’s nothing wrong with sending thoughts and prayers to victims and their families. Hell, send along some unicorns as well, and a few koala bears in party hats. It’s all about letting folks know how you feel, that’s what matters.
Ain’t none of it going to stop the next school shooting, of course. I figure that’ll happen in the next ten days or so. Probably won’t be as bloody as the one in Parkland, Florida yesterday. The butcher’s bill probably won’t be as high. Most school shootings have a lower body count. But, again, it’s all about the shooter letting folks know how he feels, that’s what matters.
You know what else matters? Doing something. And if there’s one thing about which we can be absolutely certain, it’s this: we won’t do anything. Oh, after I finish writing this I’ll call both my senators and my local congressman, but I know they won’t do anything. Some of you may do the same. Most of you won’t; most of you will voice your anger on Facebook or Twitter, maybe repost a meme, maybe sign an online petition. But most you won’t do more than that.
I’m not being judgmental here. Well, yeah, I guess I am — but really, why should you do anything more? We all know it won’t make any difference, because Congress won’t do anything. And why should they? It wasn’t their kids who were killed or wounded. It wasn’t their kids who’ll have nightmares for the foreseeable future because of the shit they saw in the hallways of their high school. And let’s be honest, the folks in Congress won’t suffer any real consequence for not doing anything.
Sure, some of them will get voted out of office in the next election, but it won’t be because of this. By the time the next election rolls around, we’ll have had another half dozen school shootings and other mass killings — and when you enter the voting booth, the odds are you won’t be thinking about any particular school shooting, let alone any particular shooting victim.
We’ve reached a point in this nation where we treat mass shootings as a sort of localized natural disaster or an industrial accident. A tornado in Oklahoma kills five, an explosion in a chemical warehouse in Texas kills eight, an earthquake in Alaska kills three, a mass shooting at a McDonald’s in Tennessee kills nine, a flash flood in Arizona kills six, a train derailment in Montana kills eleven, a school shooting in Florida kills seventeen.
Wait, that’s not true. A train derailment and a chemical explosion will lead to an investigation, after which there’s a decent chance legislators will seriously consider implementing a change in the law to prevent shit like that from happening again. And tornadoes might spark a drive to improve weather forecasting. And a flood might lead communities to prevent houses from being built on a flood plain. And earthquakes have led to more stringent building codes.
Mass shootings? Sorry, nothing we can do. Except call out those thoughts and prayers, Send in the unicorns. Alert the koala bears in party hats. Sorry so many kids got killed again.