On Talking Post-Shooting Legislation, Double Standards Prevail

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The phrase "thoughts and prayers" is often maligned in the aftermath of a horrific shooting because some of us say that, then we don't support things like gun control. To many, particularly those who get butthurt over the phrase, anti-gun restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms is the only reasonable action.


Of course, they're entitled to their opinions. It's a free nation, after all--one that's probably still free only because of the right to keep and bear arms, but I digress.

Yet it seems that in the aftermath of some horrible shooting, there's a double standard beyond what "thoughts and prayers" should mean. We're not allowed to talk at all.

Whenever a shooting occurs, many Americans quickly take to social media to post three dreaded words: thoughts and prayers. This is by far the most useless, pointless and meaningless phrase in the English language – and that’s a lot coming from a member of Gen Z, as we’re not exactly known for our ways with words. Posting this phrase gives individuals a sense of comfort by making them believe that they are helping the situation by offering their condolences. But saying this phrase acts as a substitute for more meaningful action. Even something as simple as reposting statistics about gun violence is better than thoughts and prayers because it at least adds to the conversation about shootings. Thoughts and prayers add nothing to the valuable discourse about gun violence and merely serves as a way for people to avoid the conversation. 

It’s even worse when politicians use the phrase, especially those in the formerly-respected Republican Party. Republicans are quick to offer thoughts and prayers, but then quickly pivot to protecting Second Amendment rights. A prime example of this occurred in 2018 when in the wake of a shooting in Thousand Oaks, California, then-Senator-elect Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee made sure to emphasize the importance of protecting gun rights. While I do agree that a balance should be struck between preventing shootings and protecting gun rights of law-abiding Americans, to immediately begin talking about protecting gun rights right after a shooting has occurred is inappropriate and disrespectful to victims of gun violence.  


At no point in this op-ed does the author call out gun control advocates for their talk about guns and gun control, only for those who jump to defend gun rights.

It's "disrespectful."

Well, I'm willing to agree with that. Jumping up and down about political concerns while families are still being notified that they lost someone they love really does feel disrespectful.

But that blade cuts both ways, and that's the problem for me. 

See, I'd be fine holding off for a week or two before discussing the political ramifications of something like Uvalde or Lewiston. I'd love for us to wait for all the information to roll in, then sit calmly and discuss what we've learned.

Yet that's not what happens. What we see is people calling for things like assault weapon bans before we even know what kind of weapon was used. Hell, it's happened with them making the call as the shooting is still happening

Why do they get to speak and we don't get to defend our rights? Why is it disrespectful for us to speak but not the anti-gun side?

If we were to remain silent, gun control advocates wouldn't. They'd keep going, pushing for gun control laws, making unsubstantiated claims about the efficacy of such laws, and then, after we wait the respectful period and start talking, we don't get heard because the crowd has moved on. The gun control arguments are the only thing the masses have heard and with no counterpoints offered, are then accepted.


So, we don't stay silent. We talk about gun rights in the aftermath of shootings. We attack gun control rather than wait for some arbitrary period so as to be considered "respectful" of the victims.

We not going to put up with a double standard specifically designed to allow gun control advocates to completely control the conversation and not just infringe on our rights but push "solutions" that won't even work.

Don't like it? Tough. Our job isn't to cater to the delicate sensibilities of people who seem to acknowledge that gun control is an infringement on our rights but want to push for it anyway.

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