Thoughts and prayers are not enough

Kellie Nock

Things look bleak.

It is hard to watch newsreel of a school shooting and not think of all the other times you watched newsreels of school shootings. It’s a constant reminder of the great, terrible thing that haunts this country, this constant presence looming over us, the thing we keep looking out over our shoulder for. This ugly, terrible thing makes itself known to us, then disappears just as quickly, sometimes for months on end, just enough time to let us stop talking about it.

Then it comes again.

And again.

And once more.

We cry out ‘thoughts and prayers’ because of the helplessness that we feel. People in power use it as a shield: ‘Yes, I’m thinking about it. No, I won’t do anything about it.’

We can simmer in the anger that we feel toward these people for a little while. Admonish them, their campaigns and their platforms, until you’ve got nothing left to yell about.

After that, it’s time to do more. Hold them accountable. These are the people who value their relationships with interest groups more than they value the safety of innocent children. Children who will never go home to work on homework, who will never go to soccer practice again, who will never get to see graduation.

The people in power who stay (e)motionless are not hidden. Nor are they ashamed of their espousal to their interest groups, with some of them receiving millions of dollars across their entire career. Here, the New York Times, lays it out very clearly.

It is rational to be angry, but it is smarter to turn that anger into something productive. Students are planning rallies and walkouts as a way to show people that they want their voices to be heard. After all, they are the ones with the most at stake — not the interest groups, not the politicians. School shouldn’t be a place of fear, not for anyone.

So, consider the students first. The innocents that lawmakers paw around in their ‘thoughts & prayers.’ Consider their voices, their thoughts, their calls to action.

It can’t be ‘thoughts and prayers’ anymore. It has to be more. 

Kellie Nock is a columnist. Contact her at [email protected]