I am sick of thoughts and prayers.
Thoughts and prayers are not an action or a response; at this point, they cannot even be claimed to raise awareness. The mass murder of 50 people in an Orlando bar is not something that requires raised attention, because it is a sickening massacre splashed all over mass media. To not know about it, would mean you live under a rock.
However, it is something that requires action.
Unfortunately, action doesn’t seem plausible at this point. If no action occurred in the aftermath of Sandy Hook, why should we now expect better? Why should we expect a change in policy, a change in law, a change in thinking, when all events that have come before it are met with nothing but thoughts, prayers, and blame? Thoughts and prayers are the dull knife in this vicious firefight we now find ourselves in in North America. More so, they are becoming more of an insult than anything; a quickly dashed off tweet or post that absolves one of guilt, and of appearing out of touch. These are nothing but a quick fix to allow one to pat themselves on the back for being a decent human being, before raising a banner of victory (with a hashtag of solidarity) for a useless army.
An army it seems, due never to march.
We are not all guilty of this complacency, and certainly not guilty of committing murder, however, through our inaction, the guilt of these continuing atrocities is shared among us. In our inaction, and in our lack of moving forward, there is guilt. Yes, we are standing up together. Yet, standing up is not the same as moving forward, and at this point, we as human beings, must walk. We must walk away from ignorance, stagnation, and fear.
The issue of violence in America is not an issue of gun control, legislation, discrimination, or religion. Those are factors yes, but the issue, the overall “why” of the problem, is a disease of culture, of humanity.
Islam is not a religion of violence and hate, no more than gun owners are lockjaw, white-knuckled militia types who can’t wait for the chance to put a bullet into someone. However, humanity, through the centuries, seems to be a practice of violence and hate.
We kill people; we kill people for money, faith, race, and resources. We kill those who are different than us, we kill those worlds away that frighten us, and we train young men to kill in defense of our nations. We have constructed these empires on the bodies of millions, and then claim that policy and law has made all of us better human beings.
It has been said that it was not the Pulse nightclub shooting that was the deadliest in American history, but the massacre of an estimated 300 men, women, and children by American forces at Wounded Knee. Prior to the Orlando shooting, there was the shooting at Sandy Hook. 2015 saw 375 mass shootings in the US, and 2016 has seen 133. From 1890 to 2016 streaks a trail of blood and carnage that has no regard for policy, religion, or gun laws.
Altering gun laws in America could possible bring a small change to the situation, but then I imagine we’ll just be reading about someone murdering a group of people with an axe. A gun is just a tool, used by a human being molded to use it towards violent ends.
We must walk forward and forge new paths with action not mired in politics, slacktavism, blame, and unfocused aggression. This direction of this walk is not a simple one, but a very alteration of our own human nature. For we sit at a point where the ignorance, inaction, racism, fear-mongering, and sexism we produce wholesale as a culture, is building monsters, and then we watch in horror and shock every time one of these monsters we have created sets loose. In the aftermath of tragedy, we band together and say, “no more!” Only to forget, quickly, and move on till it happens again.
In Florida, there were line-ups of people over a half-mile long hoping to give blood to assist victims. However, gay men, the target of this insane shooting, are still not allowed to donate blood if they have had sex in the last 12 months. The audacity of a man not being allowed to donate blood to a relief effort being staged against a hate-inspired mass shooting directed at those of his same sexual orientation is so inane that it boggles the fucking mind. This is ignorance lurking in the background once again; clinging like cancer to every good act of assistance and support that does manage to mobilize.
Thomas Jefferson once said that, “no people can be both ignorant, and free.” and we are at a place now, where the idea that thoughts, prayers, and politics will change anything about ourselves as a human race as a whole, is pure ignorance, and until action comes into place to combat that ignorance, we will never be free of atrocities like the ones we have seen time and time again.