As America reels from another mass shooting, which happened about three miles from my home in Thousand Oaks, we are hearing the usual chorus that “something” must be done. There will be blame cast at President Trump, his supporters, the GOP and the NRA, but not one unkind word about the evil person who actually pulled the trigger, Ian David Long. I find that truly strange.
But what I find even more strange than the predictable, political posturing to exploit this tragedy is how offering prayer for the survivors has become so strongly resented. Chris Matthews of MSNBC said that expressing “thoughts and prayers” should be outlawed. This twisted and misdirected anger presumes that we cannot pray AND do something. That we cannot walk AND chew gum at the same time.
It is a straw-man argument to presume that anyone is suggesting prayer should take the place of action. I realize it’s good political theater to rage about the problem, but to attack the quiet act of grace, compassion and love through prayer for the grieving is mind-boggling.
The problem is that the same crowd that self-righteously shouts we need to do something never offers anything that we should do. If a madman is predisposed to murder as many victims as possible, what gun law do you think he will respect to prevent such a crime? And why would we think someone who is committed to murdering people with a gun would have second thoughts about stealing a gun?
Many people insist that prayer is a meaningless platitude, though billions in the world would disagree. But saying we need to do something without offering any solutions is the very definition of a meaningless platitude. Our world needs more prayer, not less.