Gun Apologists, Save Your “Thoughts and Prayers”


Well, another month here in the Land of the Free. That means another mass shooting and another round of funerals for our brothers and sisters taken in the middle of radiant, beautiful lives. And once again, all gun apologists can offer grieving families are three words to compound their pain; three words certain to do little to comfort them, and even less to ensure more families won’t soon be standing in the horrible shoes they’re standing right now.

Three hollow, empty, useless words:
Thoughts and prayers.

It’s the social media cliché du jour from those wishing to appear moved without actually moving, those who want to feel good about feeling bad without any real response. Most often those who champion guns over people don’t extend gestures like this to comfort victims’ families, they do it to publicly relieve themselves of culpability. They do it because that’s a heck of a lot easier than just about anything else. They do it because that’s all the think they’re required to do.

These folks offer “thoughts and prayers” after a mass murder, as if that has been their only option all along, as if they can offer nothing else now.

They offer “thoughts and prayers” as if God is somehow responsible for:
easy access to assault weapons,
the NRA perpetuating a Wild West, cowboy gun culture,
churches still incubating fear of and disdain for gays and Muslims and people of color,
a deep-pocketed gun lobby that has infiltrated our political process.

a supposedly “Christian nation” that spends four times more to arm its military than to teach its children.

Apparently these are all outside of their influence or alteration. Nothing to change or dig deeper into or talk about. They just throw up their hands and pass the bloody buck to God while feeling exonerated from any blame.

I’m a Christian and a pastor and I’ve had it with their “thoughts and prayers”, and I imagine the families burying their children this week are too.

“Thoughts and prayers” from lawmakers who obstruct any new gun legislation is an insult to those who’ve been murdered.
“Thoughts and prayers” from politicians who accept NRA contributions is a putrid, stinking farce.
“Thoughts and prayers” from pastors who continue to preach a “love the sinner, hate the sin” theology that denies the humanity of the LGBTQ community is a flat-out sin.
“Thoughts and prayers” from Christians who still fight against full LGBTQ inclusion in the their churches is repentance worthy.

Thinking about people is all well and good and prayer certainly won’t hurt them—but these things aren’t particularly helpful either if you do nothing else.

They won’t take weapons from the hands of terrorists and prior offenders and the mentally ill. They won’t make a single street safer.

They certainly won’t raise the dead.

They won’t give the families of those murdered by gun violence, more birthdays and Christmases and graduations.

They won’t prevent the next mass shooting either.

But gun apologists, do you know what might help, instead of your abundant but rather worthless “thoughts and prayers”?

– Getting off your rear end and doing something to make guns less plentiful and less easy to buy.
– Taking a stand in your church for the inherent value of the LGBTQ community.
– Demanding that law enforcement officers who disregard the humanity of people of color are removed and prosecuted.
– Supporting Muslims and ensuring they have the same right to express faith that you have.
– Telling the NRA that they are not only part of this violence, but they are manufacturing and profiting from it.
– Condemning the hateful rhetoric of preachers and evangelists who use dead people as a soap box to stand upon to dispense further damnation upon the gay community.
– Calling out racism and homophobia and Islamophobia in your church, your political party, your home—and your heart.
– Voting for candidates committed to protecting all life, not just those they deem worth protecting.
– Denouncing bullying “eye for an eye” Christianity that makes violence seem noble or admirable or holy. 

If all you’re going to offer in the face of this kind of repeated carnage are “thoughts and prayers”, people will continue to die and you will be an accessory. You can think and pray all you want, but until you actually move, you’ll be part of this.

Don’t just leave this in the hands of God. God has given you hands too.

God has given you life and this place and time, and maybe God is asking you to do something to affirm life right now.

Maybe God wants you to be the answer to the prayer. 

Think and pray about that.


As of this writing, I just read a thoughtful and moving piece by C.J. Prince that says this far more beautifully than I could, and from the perspective of the LGBTQ community. Please read her words!


80 thoughts on “Gun Apologists, Save Your “Thoughts and Prayers”

  1. Radiant, beautiful lives? I’d say not. Have you ever been to a gay bar? Sad, hopeless places with lonely people seeking sexual partners. Obama in his naïveté said they were just there to “dance and have a good time”. Wake up to the reality. And Anderson Cooper said they were “sancruaties” and “sacred spaces”. No, they are sad places filled with sin and darkness. But, John, I forgot, you don’t believe in sin.

    • Have you ever been to a straight bar? Sad, hopeless places with lonely people seeking sexual partners.

    • Seriously? Sounds like you have been to a gay bar. Do you think that they should have been killed? Are you glad there are 49 less? Sure sounds like it.
      God help we Christians who actually believe in following Christ, who see past sin and love people, all people.

      • Actually, who see all people as equally valuable, is what I should have said. I’ll not judge any person, just try my best to love whoever I come in contact with. And I know some right wing conservatives who are pretty darned hard to love. But so am I at times. Guns do kill people, we have a problem with that in this country, and we need to act on it, all of us, whether they’re kids at school, or people out partying.

    • Yes! Radiant beautiful lives are everywhere. Even in bars. And since the church at large does not acknowledge the LGBTQ community as real, valuable people, and God forbid let them have a social life inside the walls of a church, then a bar is a perfectly fine place to meet. How would you know what the inside of gay bar looks like anyway John? Doing a little “research”?? People can decide for themselves where to meet and greet without your “sad lives” label. I am extremely blessed to attend one of the rare churches where LGBTQ and all others are loved, accepted and celebrated!

    • I find it incredible that you know so much about “Clubs” and what they do in them.
      You are such a hypocrite, I take out the “gay” and just say club. Do you think that you might be describing a “straight club” as well.
      How do you know so much about gay clubs, you actually sound as if you are an expert. Maybe it was just YOU, who was sad and lonely and trolling the place for sex. Then, yes that is sad. But, that is not all clubs or why all people go to them, again, maybe this is just ‘YOU’, I will pray for you and hopefully, you will find some fun and joy in a gathering of folk who ‘JUST WANNA HAVE FUN”.

    • There’s no need for ad hominem rebuttal here. It’s equivalent to John’s blaming the victim.

      Humans seek out community. When no place in the larger community is granted, we find other means of gathering.

      Sanctuary is a freighted word. To some, it can only be a place with a Cross and Altar. But that’s not what the word means – sanctuary is a safe space, a refuge, a place where you can go to gain strength and support.

      At PFLAG meetings, we see straight parents and friends that have been ostracised from their worship houses as dismissively as their LGBTQ loved ones. Sanctuary denied. And sanctuary given… ironically, we often meet in places with a Cross and Altar. Just a more compassionate place.

    • That’s any bar for the most part. But to put a tag on every person who enters any bar as drunks, sexual partner seekers, lonely, depressed, etc…. Is asinine. There are those that go to dance and mingle with friends. I have known many straight people in my 50+ years who went to a bar to hook up, or drink away their sorrows., Your shallow, one-sided thinking is exactly what is wrong in today’s Christian church. I am straight, have a personal relationship with God and I call myself a believer vs a Christian because of the holier than thou, hatefulness I see over and over again from the “Christian” community. “That” bar is no different than the hundreds of thousand of bars that decorate our towns in every country of the world. Jesus didn’t ask us to condemn these lonely, hurting people (gay or straight). He simply asked us to love them and share the gospel with them. Those lost, lonely people in “that” bar, are mostly that way because they have had to live in judgement their whole lives from people just like you.

      • Well, as a bisexual person, I can say “that” bar, as you put it, was likely different than the run-of-the-mill, average bar in the US. Gay/LGBT bars are far more lively and colorful with a wide variety of people dancing and enjoying themselves. Just saying. And, yes, I do bristle a bit at the “GLBTs — they’re just like you!” bit, as if we have to prove we’re harmless and worthy and “normal” for acceptance by being or becoming the stereotypically conforming happy little capitalists in our lives and households instead of the creative and often unique individuals we might happen to be.

        • You do realize that I was referring to the first posters comments I hope.
          My point was that every bar has the same people. The ones who want to dance and have fun, the ones looking for a hook up and the ones drowning their sorrows. Also, you can define yourself however you like. My friends and family would just as soon be considered part of the “norm” as you put it. They want to just be like every other employee/employer, parent, coach, church goer, etc… So to each their own.
          Peace and love to you.

          • You entirely missed my point. Yes, I did realize to whom you were responding. I’m not an idiot. But I do get tired of people — in their rush to “defend” us against people like that person — feel the need to assure him that we’re all like your “family and friends,” apparently.
            Well, we’re not. And that’s OK. We shouldn’t have to apologize for being different or for our clubs being different. Because many of them are. Hellz, most of them likely are and, no, contrary to your assertion, the people who go there aren’t necessarily like the people who go to every other bar in America. And that’s OK, too. In fact, that’s the point. Our clubs are places where we CAN be our unique selves because we CAN’T be in other bars and clubs. At least, not without jeopardizing our safety.
            The GLBTs in your life want to fit into the mainstream and aren’t part of gay culture. That’s perfectly fine. But don’t whitewash the rest of us, please. Pretending that a lot of us aren’t different in some vain hope that people like “John” will accept us isn’t legit.

    • John: I would just be you are one of those people who say they don’t care what people do as long as they don’t shove it in your face. So, they were in a gay bar, not shoving their sexuality in your face. And even that wasn’t a safe place from one of your fellow haters. I’ll bet you don’t think you are anything like the guy that shot that place up, but the hate that caused the shooting in Orland is fueled by everyone with an attitude like yours. I guess we should be grateful you didn’t insult us by pretending you cared at all about the victims.

    • No wonder so many are leaving Christianity behind with disgusting bigoted attitudes like yours. Most people with a working brain learned to read between the lines at about age 12 and it’s quite clear you are glad they are dead. You are despicable.

    • John. Forty-nine people are dead. How sad or hopeless they were is not the issue. Whether they were drinking Jack and Coke or sipping a Shirley Temple is not the issue. Whether they were gay or straight is not the issue. The issue is that we have 49 of our fellow Americans dead—-all people who were sons and daughters of families who miss them. Some were no doubt fathers and mothers—and dad or mom is never coming home again to their children. Jesus was about life, whether it be here, in the hereafter, or both. Your post is an affront to the one thing that Jesus Christ valued most in human beings. The post you have made above is wrongheaded, shameful, and disrespectful to Jesus, the people who died, their families, and the people who post on this blog. I do not know what your religious affiliation is, and I really do not care because your post is an insult to the value of all human life and to the values of Jesus the Christ. As a heterosexual Christian and a member of the United Methodist Church, I hereby shake the dust off my sandals “in the general direction” of your post.

    • Islam conquers the world thru fear & violent force. Islam is more about Mohammad (the murderous Army General), than Allah, their god.

      Inside the US, jihadist have 100% access to any firearms & bomb making devices they wish, regardless of any Laws. They have near unlimited resources to carry out Jihad (& Sharia) against all Kafirs (‘unbelievers’) and their power is growing every day. Jihadists are emboldened by Americans ignoring threat.

      • Paul when we view whole groups of people as a threat we perpetuate and are complicit in the cycle of violence and war.

      • Paul. I think you are more worried that Islamic religious legalism is a direct threat to your fundie religious legalism in the American prosytelization market. In other words, you fear Islam will be more appealing to Americans that Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism. The place where both Islam and you fundies go wrong is your deeply held belief that faith in God is mostly about legalism. Jesus died to change that, and his will is that it must indeed change to be aligned with him. This is why both fundie Islam and fundie Christianity have both been condemned to the ash disposal can of history. Get used to it because both are under a death sentence ordained in Heaven.

      • Jesus was about life. Donnie and his buddies apparently are about death. Who in his right mind needs a machine gun to defend himself?

    • You don’t think Jesus would feel love and compassion for those people? Way to throw the first stone, mate. Every life is beautiful because it’s from God. The essence of life itself is from God. Get off your high horse and recognize that just the nature of being human is radiant and beautiful.

    • In other words Obama chose words that did not show hate and judgement, unlike you……please carry on with showing us who and what you really are. My God is a God of love.

    • In other words Obama chose words that did not show hate and judgement, unlike you……please carry on with showing us who and what you really are. My God is a God of love.

    • So, you’ve been to a gay bar? For what purpose? Go to any bar and you find the same behaviors. This is not unique to gay bars. The preponderance of the LBGTQ are hard working, tax paying citizens who participate in their communities through church, volunteerism and as good neighbors. Your ignorance is shocking! You are what is wrong with this country!

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  3. I tried to have a civil discussion about the importance of gun control, specifically the ban of AR-15s, with gun enthusiasts. Gun ownership is like a rabid religion with these people. When a mass shooting occurs, they just hug their guns tighter or go buy more without any thought about the people who lose their lives everyday to gun violence. There is some strange delusion that if they have more guns, they will be safer. We just had a road rage incident in Detroit yesterday in which a mentally ill man began shooting at cars. He was eventually arrested and found to have an arsenal of guns in his trunk. When will this madness end?

  4. I pretty much agree with you, John Pavlovitz, on everything; but I’m not sure that restricting weapons WITHOUT a concurrent change of heart regarding LGBTQIX people, and all those regarded as “Other” will help.

    I tend to read a lot of commentaries and postings, and I have seen a lot of hatred directed towards women, minorities, people of opposite political philosophy and LGBTQIX …the ‘plate tectonics’ of society are massively moving and those who were firmly in the ‘normative’ seat (white/male/Christian/heterosexual) are being rocked….it’s all around them, from an African-American inhabitant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, to same-sex marriage….to ‘Hamilton’, even.

    When people spoke of ‘classic’ culture, they meant European culture, derived from the Greco-Roman. Now, other ways of relating, of expressing faith, politics, art, music are very much in the public eye – it is no accident that there has been an increase in the suicide rates among middle-aged white heterosexual men – men used to being firmly in the seat of power and influence in business, politics, religion and elsewhere.

    I once told a friend (who has come out in the past several years) that I did not think of the United States as “my country”, at least not in the sense that’s commonly understood. I care about the United States, I want it and its people to prosper and flourish, but the amount of melanin in my skin precludes it from ever really being _my_ country – there is a sizable population that thinks people like me simply don’t belong here (where they think I belong, I wonder, because sending me back to Africa would be the same as sending me back to Finland) …. this friend understood what I meant.

    When the day comes that everyone who is not white/male/heterosexual/Christian can actually be treated as if they belonged – that will be the day when there will be less of these tragedies.

    • Ms. Yattwood. You belong. For several 100 years, your people with high melanin built a big part of this country. Nobody goes back to Africa—and if they try it—they will have to do it over my dead white/male/heterosexual/Christian body. And being as how I am tall and weigh about as much as the defensive lineman—that ain’t gonna be easy.

  5. The thing is, the people who need to read this will never read it. They will only read the rhetoric that believes in their guns. We each sit in our camps and wonder what the hell the others are thinking. Our country is in a stalemate about guns, politics, sexual identity, race, ethnicity. It seems to be growing to the animosity of the 1960’s or worse. I was a child then, but I remember. The hate I am seeing is similar and frightening. I always speak out when I see this injustice. But I live in an area that is liberal and we all pretty much feel similarly so I can’t effect much change. I am not able to do anything to help. It hurts my heart to see so much pain in the media and be able to do nothing. I call my senator and congressman but they vote the opposite. So frustrating. Love and let love.

    • Well Vonda. At least be glad that you do not live in Tennessee, Kansas, Oklahoma, or Texas. The people you most fear live in extraordinary numbers in these four states. Stay out of them and you will probably be okay. Unfortunately, I do live in one of these four states—Tennessee, where an occasional whacko writes a letter to the editor of a major metropolitan newspaper to declare publicly that he is in the process of buying more guns and ammunition so he will be able to shoot as many liberals and progressives as possible WHEN THE TIME COMES. A lot of these idiots are just waiting for THE TIME—and guess what? They will be the ones to define when that time has arrived—so sorry to say.

  6. I’m sorry but I can’t agree with you. The men and women killed in Orlando were killed by a person using a gun. His actions are responsible for so much sadness. I am a responsible gun owner and have trained and followed all the laws of the land. I am offended with your ability to dismiss my rights to own and carry a weapon just as callously as Omar Mateen denied the rights of those he killed to lead the life styles they choose to live. Our “thoughts and prayers” are all anyone of us can offer.
    If you think gun laws will fix the problem, take a look at Chicogo… Gun laws will not fix the problem and your assumption that purchasing a gun is as easy as are unfounded. We have gun laws in place and more are on the way… Man made laws won’t change the hearts of man.

    • Dan: I think if you really read John’s post, he never once dismissed your right to own or carry a gun. I believe if “responsible gun owners” stood up and supported sensible laws, there would be a lot more respect shown. The same way peaceful Muslims are criticized for not standing up against extremists, responsible gun owners can be criticized for not supporting laws that, for example, prevent people on a terrorist watch list from walking into a gun shop and buying weapon designed purely for killing as many people as fast as possible.

      • Thank you Patty Stone for putting into civil words what I want to say. Gun enthusiasts take every call for tighter gun laws as an attack to take their guns away. I never know what to say. This is very good. Thank you.

      • And that’s all well and good Patty Stone, until they accidentally put your name on that list and then you can’t fly or buy a gun,even if you wanted to, or maybe even vote because your name is like somebody else’s name on the list and then you need to prove why you shouldn’t be on that list. Lots of people have a genuine distrust for our government and they are quite right to have that distrust.

        • Suzanne: I’m willing to take that chance to avoid an incident like the one we just had, and unfortunately, it seems to take people with opinions like yours losing a loved one themselves before they get it.

          • Patti, I get it, I just don’t trust the Government to handle it. I wondered what else was in those Bills that the Senate didn’t pass, because basically they sounded pretty reasonable to me. Frankly I wish the POTUS had line item veto like many Governors do, then there would likely be less crazy additions put on simple one issue Bills from Congress.

            • Suzanne: I agree with you about the line-item veto. Good bills get voted down because of the special interest pork. As far as trusting the government, we are a nation of laws, and we must do the best we can within that framework. Obviously we need reasonable oversight, so it would be nice to get our 9th Supreme Court judge. I also think the American people have FINALLY had enough and might just put enough pressure on our representatives to do the will of the people. This just might finally be the tipping point.

    • I don’t want gun laws or any law to change the hearts of mankind. No law can do that only regulate their actions.

    • Dan Kenison. People are not asking truly responsible gun owners like you (I hope) to give up their guns. Some people should never have a right to buy a gun because they are by definition NOT RESPONSIBLE. This includes people on Radical Islamic Terrorist watch lists. It includes severely mentally ill people who do not respond well to treatment. It includes any dad who leaves a loaded go on the nightstand by the bed 24 hours per day within easy reach of his four-year-old daughter. It applies to people who have never taken a gun safety course and have never learned proper gun safety in the military. I have sat in living rooms here in Tennessee where my own relatives sit in the living room with loaded guns after a hunt, gather around in a circle in the living room, and have a rip-roaring conversation while carelessly pointing the barrels of their hunting rifles and shotguns straight toward family members sitting on the sofas and chairs. My father-in-law thought no bullet was in the chamber on his hunting rifle and fired off a shot inside the house. The bullet went straight through three bedroom walls and out into the living room where we normally gather. It was just dumb luck or a miracle that no one was in the living room at the time because we normally have a whole crowd in that room. I can support gun ownership as long as it is truly responsible, but none of what i have described above is responsible gun ownership.

    • From a legal standpoint in securing a gun, great for you! I wish there were more who thought and acted as you profess. However, you are amiss in a way. Purchasing a gun today IS easy! You cite Chicago for what? A gun can be purchased ANYWHERE unfortunately, can be carried ANYWHERE, can be discharged ANYWHERE, with the purpose of killing. That is the time in which we are in and our law enforcement knows this. The whole idea of guns is out of control now. What might have been meant for good – free hunting for food or personal protection of ones home – is now an instrument and culprit for senseless killing, whether secured legally or not. The truth is that we all have a right to how and what we think. The danger is that enough thinking is warped, distorted and poisoned about others that the hand with the gun connected to that brain is public enemy number one! Whether your skin is dark or your religion is misunderstood or your sexual preference is “abnormal” (whatever that is), the real issues are lack of genuine love and respect for human life (we will gladly extend those to an animal but remain quiet about this Orlando massacre, the South Carolina murders, Sandy Hook, Columbine, Trayvon Martin, etal. And, who says it’s acceptable for our government to murder OR our military OR our police without just cause –I shudder to say that, for what is just today?). Still what we lack in love we abundantly compensate for in fear. IF we know people fear what they don’t understand then isn’t our first order of business to educate in truth by fact? We have spent decades celebrating Christopher Columbus who was merely a terrorist, for you do not discover inhabited land. Our history books are full of what the writer wants you to know, not what actually happened, and this is what we teach our children – no wonder they’re rejecting this quality education that is provided for them. ???? Additionally, since we operate in fear rather than love, what John speaks of is exactly what we have today. Those that perished in the last wake of terrorism happened to be of the LGBT community. Which group will be next? There will be a next and another because society values the gun more.

  7. Another thing they can do is to stop using the argument that laws won’t help because criminals will get their hands on funs anyway. This is just a copout and an excuse to do nothing.

  8. Dan Kenison, we can’t change the hearts of man but we can change the types of weapons and ease with which we can acquire those weapons of mass destruction. Getting a gun will require more forethought for the enraged person and maybe they will have had time to think before they shoot. No one wants to take away your ability to own guns, just not AR-15’s. Or others similar to it. No civilian needs this type of gun. It was intended for war zones. You may like it, my ex-husband wanted one badly, I have shot one before. No one needs this gun for fun or hunting. If all you can offer is prayers, then you are part of the problem. I will pray you or a family member are never mowed down in this style, killed by someone who legally got this gun and decided they didn’t like the way your family lived or the bar they were at, or the elementary school your kids attend. I will offer my thoughts an prayers to you then, as your only solace.

    • It is indeed a cop-out. No law can change hearts. If that were our goal than we don’t need any laws at all. It is always said that gun laws and regulations only harm the rights of law abiding people and that criminals will never follow the laws. If that is your argument than why have any laws? Law abiding people do not steal, or murder, or rape, or abuse a child. Its only putting the lives of innocent people at risk from corrupt police, prosecutors, biased juries, and incompetent defense lawyers. The guilty get off and the innocent often get the shaft. Lets just have the law of the jungle.

      • That is a silly response. If the law of the jungle worked, we would have never evolved from that. Laws are there for a reason. Everyone would speed if there were no laws and more people would be killed in cars for the love of speed. Outlawing weapons of mass destruction will not take away your precious guns. Everyone will still have them.

  9. If people took the two greatest commandments to heart – that is, really understood and lived them, the discourse about the value of human life would change dramatically are these kinds of problems would cease, and the haters would become lovers of life.
    Oh the commandments: – short version – Love God, Love your neighbor!

    • Amen, Ellis! So, so simple. Unfortunately, there are so many people who need to feel better about themselves by minimizing someone else that we can’t escape the “them vs. us” attitudes that create the hatred and violence in this world.

  10. I definitely believe there should be more stringent background checks before guns can be purchased, however, we do realize that if there were no guns, these people would just use something else. Bombs, chemical weapons, biological weapons, whatever they can get their hands on. The problem is that there is evil in this world, and no amount of weapons control will stop that. “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart for I (Jesus) have overcome the world.” Getting bogged down and depressed over something we actually have so little control over, living in fear or anger or desperation is not going to help anyone. The NRA gives money to politicians, true! But so does every other major entity, for example, the pharmaceutical industry. The true number 3 cause of death in the U.S is actually iatrogenic death, or death at the hands of our medical system, including pharmaceutical drugs, but no one is screaming about that. Automobiles and people wielding knives kill more people than guns. Abortions kill more lives than guns. Do you see my point? There is death all around us. But as the Faithful our hope lies in the afterlife. As for loving the LGBT community, the Muslims, the minorities, etc. that’s just a given if you dare call yourself a follower of Christ. But loving them is never going to eradicate the evil in the world. Maybe it will have some sort of ripple effect, but unfortunately, according to the Word of God the world will get worse and worse until the coming of our Savior. Love everyone, be at peace, pray and stop putting all your hope in this temporary world and instead hold onto hope of the New Heaven and New Earth where there will be only perfect love and peace.

    • Kim Metzger, You put your hope in an afterlife. I have no belief there is any afterlife. So for me and so many that are so made that we can’t believe your message is less than meaningless drivel. The only life we can be certain of is the here and now. Your belief in the hereafter, and others of like mind, are to blame for the mess of the world. I am sick of hearing, don’t worry about climate change. Jesus is coming back soon and all will be OK. Whatever the problem we debate with you hereafter folks its no concern at all. And while its true evil people will find other ways to kill people, guns kill more people in the shortest time. A man with a knife could not have killed 49 people before someone stopped him. The off duty police officer would have killed a knife wielding attacker easily without gunfire coming back at him. Using explosives or making a bomb requires time and skill. All that is required for using a gun is purchase, load, point and shoot. And target practice is as simple as a video game.

      • David A M, One question for you, knowing that John is a Christian and is constantly preaching the gospel of Jesus’s love to people, why are you commenting on the site? The whole point of the gospel and Jesus’s love is the promise of eternal life after we die and being Christlike bye showing love for our fellow man until that day comes.

      • I appreciate your reply and I am sorry if you feel my beliefs are but drivel. I try to be the best version of myself in the here and now, and try to teach that to my kids. I have always believed that if there is no afterlife, than being a good person now is still the right thing to be, and when we die and there is nothingness, then no harm no foul. But, if there is an afterlife as I believe, as do 98%of the world’s population in some way or another (statistics say there are only about 2% of the pop. that are truly atheist) then I am looking forward to and have hope in that. I don’t disrespect your beliefs, or you as a human for that matter, you don’t need to disrespect me or my beliefs. Open-mindeness should be a two way street, brother.

  11. Your hippy-dippy nonsense doesn’t fly now just like it didn’t fly in the 1960s . The ONLY thing that will stop bullies now is the same thing that has always stopped bullies: Good people willing to stand up and commit violence upon them. Your hippy peacelove Jesus only works within your ivory tower, John.

    • Yes and no…injustice and bullying need to be confronted, even challenged, and there are those times when a bully does need to feel a fist, to know that he (or she) can’t just walk all over someone.

      And yet, it was the bloodied, firehosed, set-upon-by-dogs civil rights marchers of the 1960’s using Gandhi’s satyagraha principles and practices that moved civil rights forward, largely by allowing themselves to be beaten, bloodied, firehosed, set upon by dogs with the world watching.

      When it comes to thermonuclear weapons….so far MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) has worked – but will it indefinitely? What happens when someone with access to such weapons no longer cares if the Earth is reduced to a radioactive cinder?

      My late husband (aka ‘The Montana Farm Boy’) handled firearms since age 6 and was an excellent shot before his terminal illness. We had a Beretta and a Savage 12-gauge; he taught me how to handle the Beretta – and he __pounded___into me: 1. ALWAYS treat a weapon as if it were loaded, EVEN if you think it’s not 2. ALWAYS have RESPECT for the power of the weapon.


    • Eric: We’ve had over 14 years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, plus all the bombings and drone strikes of terrorist targets. How is that working for us, except to create more hatred of America in the Middle East?

  12. Well, just to be the devil’s advocate, I will post this:

    “We could have a nuclear war with crazy old Putin any day. Life is going to be hard for those who survive the nuclear attack. I do not have a fallout shelter, but my next door neighbor does. For right now, I do not think an attack like that will ever come. But just in case one does, my family’s only chance for survival will be that fallout shelter and the food and water stocked in it. I keep my gun loaded at all times just in case an attack comes. If one does, our only chance will be to shoot and kill my neighbor and his family before they have a chance to move into their fallout shelter. Once that steel door is closed, there will be no chance of anyone else getting into that shelter before the warheads go off. That will be about 15 minutes at most.

  13. ” ‘Thoughts and prayers’ from politicians who accept NRA contributions…” – this is slightly off-topic, but does anyone actually know of any politician who would ever refuse a contribution from anyone? I hope I will be pleasantly surprised….. 🙂

  14. C. J. Prince’s letter is indeed well written.
    Your list on here is very useful – a checklist
    even the busiest can use to check off as we do is concretely
    very efficient. I’m posting it on Facebook, Thank you!

  15. Pingback: Practice What You Pray (Thoughts and Prayers) | The e-Word in Season

  16. Dear John, I am writing this just to you, your thoughts were my thoughts just before I read your piece. I had also come to the conclusion that there is no hope. Those of us who stand for love, equality and compassion for others will never overcome the hate and divisiveness that plagues our country. I grew up a Christian and don’t believe anymore because of the attitudes of people in the church. The fruits of the spirit that these people ascribe to are rotten on the vine or stunted. I have seen no concern, empathy or compassion for people outside of their faith. Thoughts and prayers are the least you can do, it takes no emotion or real concern to say. I have also heard the old “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” , well who allows the free access to assault weapons? Anyone who thinks that automatic weapons are necessary in homes should be held responsible for this shooting.

  17. John Pavlovitz, thank you for the article that simply makes another platform for MORE HATE and BLAME. Offering thoughts and prayers is in no way casting blame. If you pray, you should understand that you pray for strength and guidance to overcome this horrendous act. You pray that the victims and all affected, including the gunman’s family, the ability to heal, understand and eventually forgive. Stop spreading more blame when we need to come together.
    Guns or not, people who want to hurt others will find a way to hurt others.
    If you want to speak with NRA or gun manufacturers, lets included chemical companies, pressure cooker manufacturers, car manufacturers and others.
    Stop casting blame on the gun, but the person with the demented mind behind it.
    I am a gun owner and never have had thoughts of crime. In many states, there is decent gun control but there is room for improvement. Stop casting hate. We have the right to defend ourselves. People have killed others using vehicles. People who want to hurt will find any means to find the right weapon.

  18. Another uninformed and idiotic opinion. Blame the gun but never the person who used the gun. When are you and people going to realize, first off these guns already are banned in the USA!!! He obtained the gun illegally. Oh but that’s a fact you are willing to look over. Save your uninformed information for someone who doesn’t have a clue. You have NO idea what happen here. This sick individual obtained guns and killed innocent people. Wait though, its not because of whit privilege! It is a white person killing a bunch of Country and Western concert goers. White person, killing numerous other white people. I will send my prayers to them and none of your idiotic comments will do to stop me. Stop blaming the gun. Start blaming these pill pushing Doctors, who aren’t solving mentally unstable people. Blame the fact that it has been proven that drinking water contains deadly toxins. Forget to mention that Chemtrails left by airplanes have nothing to do with the change in our atmosphere that is effecting people thinking. No its the guns fault! Its the guns fault that a mentally unstable individual illegally obtained it and killed and injured those people. Not the person who did it. Not his fault! He only pulled the trigger. Great logic!!

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