“Thoughts and Prayers”: Politician’s Response to Gun Violence

Were tired of #ThoughtsAndPrayers and empty promises. Its time for our politicians to take action and save lives.

March For Our Lives

We’re tired of #ThoughtsAndPrayers and empty promises. It’s time for our politicians to take action and save lives.

“Thoughts and prayers,” a phrase coined by many politicians as a response to gun violence, is striking a fire in protestors who want to see change within the U.S. political system.

Many people are calling this phrase a form of slacktivism. According to Dictionary.com, slacktivism is “the practice of supporting a political or social cause by means such as social media or online petitions, characterized as involving very little effort or commitment.” This direct criticism of politicians’ response is meant to get their attention and, hopefully, provoke them to put more effort into protecting Americans; unfortunately, from the eyes of protestors it does not seem to be working.

Everyday, somewhere in the United States, people are subjected to gun violence, and to many, it seems like nowhere is safe anymore. Anyplace, anywhere, and at any time, a shooting could break out. Supermarkets, airports, birthday parties, parks, and even places that are deemed sanctuaries, like churches and schools, are no exception. Shootings are everywhere, and there is only so much regular citizens can do to stop it.

When news comes out about a shooting occuring in the U.S., people take to the streets, taking advantage of their First Amendment right to protest in order to draw attention from politicians to this epidemic that is killing American people.

In 2018, survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting in Parkland, Florida, started the activism group March For Our Lives. In 2022, these same survivors took to Washington D.C., placing 1,100 body bags outside of National Mall, spelling out the phrase “Thoughts and Prayers.” Each body bag individually represented over 150 deaths since the Parkland Shooting, totaling over 170,000 lives lost to gun violence in the last four years.

This bold, emotional protest was done in an attempt to bring more awareness and attention to this drastic issue Americans are facing.

Daud Mumin, board co-chair of March For Our Lives, blames Congress for most of the gun violence deaths in America. He says, “Body bags. That’s what thoughts and prayers get us because these empty words do not stop bullets. This crisis is completely preventable if only politicians in Washington who have the power to make change took their jobs seriously and actually valued our lives.”

While it is true that politicians have a significant impact on our safety and laws, how much can they really do to prevent these shootings?

Many politicians argue that the reason more legislation is not able to be passed concerning the topic of gun violence is because many view owning a gun to be part of the Second Amendment right to bear arms. Others argue that increasing the restrictions on gun laws would only make it harder for law-abiding citizens to purchase guns for their personal safety in their homes, or for more recreational activities like hunting.

Some politicians want to pass more gun legislation, but due to how the United States government is set up with bills needing to pass both the Senate and the House of Representatives, it makes it very difficult to do so.

With all this information, it begs the question: are politicians doing all they can do? Can they do more?