The longstanding refusal of GOP politicians to do anything about America’s gun violence makes their offerings of “thoughts and prayers” hypocritical and very hollow, asserts Timothy Egan in the Seattle Times. In 2013, Mitch McConnell led a Senate filibuster to prevent new backgrounds checks for buying guns. A year ago, President Trump signed a bill that made it less hard for those suffering from mental illness to acquire a firearm. These and other Republicans have declined to change gun laws while ignoring the thousands killed every year. Their thoughts and prayers are a distraction while they do nothing to make Americans safer.
The politically-tainted criticism of people that warmly offer thoughts and prayers in support of shooting victims is unnecessarily hostile and does nothing to solve the deeper issue, argues Bryan Tubbs in The Federalist. To many on the left, anything aside from direct criticism of the N.R.A or a call for tougher gun laws should be dismissed. This is unfair to religious Americans who turn to prayer as a way to deal with tragedies like the one in Florida. Stopping shooting deaths is more complicated than just limiting Americans’ gun rights, like liberals want. Prayer can provide comfort as well as a call to action to make necessary changes.