I’m Done With Thoughts, Prayers, and “Looking for the Helpers”

Thoughts and prayers.

Lone wolf.

Mental health.

“Look for the helpers.”

You know what? NO.

I am a person of faith, but I am done with our first and only response to mass shootings being to think about and pray for victims. Thoughts and prayers are a given, not a solution.

I’m done with lone wolf after lone wolf after lone wolf—the majority of which actually have some striking commonalities—terrorizing my country because we refuse to take any serious steps to prevent the easiest means of mass murder.

I’m done with blaming mental health when every other country in the world has mentally unstable people and nowhere near our number of mass shootings.

I loved Mr. Rogers with all my heart, but I am done “looking for the helpers” in an attempt to feel better about the fact that I live in what is supposedly the greatest country in the world and I can’t go to a movie, or a restaurant, or a concert, or a church, or a grocery store, or a post office, or a shopping mall, or a kindergarten classroom without envisioning how I’d save my children if a gunman came in and opened fire.

We. Should. Not. Have. To. Live. Like. This.

America, I love you. But you are broken. And I am so damn tired of constantly having this same conversation with you. I’m tired of writing about school shootings. I’m tired of writing about the effect of kids growing up doing active shooter drills. I’m tired of explaining why arming teachers is a horrible idea. I’m tired of sharing the research that shows that stricter gun laws do actually work. (Fair warning: If anyone cries “But Chicago!” without reading that link, they will get a verbal flogging like they have never seen.) I’m tired of having to resort to writing satire peppered with research in attempt to not lose my mind while trying to get you to understand that THIS JUST DOESN’T HAPPEN IN OTHER COUNTRIES.

Our constitutional right to bear arms is not immutable. We passed constitutional amendments to end slavery and give women the right to vote. We can certainly do SOMETHING about the fact that we have a higher gun violence rate than any other developed nation by far, and a higher gun violence rate than most developing nations to boot.

I mean, when you picture Palestine, including the West Bank and Gaza, do you imagine it having a higher gun death rate than the U.S? (Spoiler alert: It doesn’t.)

I understand people’s fear of limiting our freedoms, BUT WHAT WE ARE LIVING WITH NOW IS NOT FREEDOM. Parents live in fear of sending their kids off to school. Teachers live in fear of having to protect their students from a gunman busting into their classroom. People live in fear of attending concert halls and movie theaters. Women live in fear of their abusive partners. People live in fear of their loved ones with suicidal thoughts having easy access to the most effective and immediate way to die.

Other countries have figured out how to have guns without having regularly scheduled mass shootings. Gun culture in the U.S. is limiting our right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Whatever we’re doing (or not doing) ISN’T WORKING.

It’s long past time to try something else.

(P.S. If you’re wondering what that something else might be, please go to the Giffords Law Center website, hover over Gun Laws and read through the Policy Areas. This is the clearest, most thorough resource I’ve found for explaining what sensible gun legislation entails.)

I'm Done With Thoughts, Prayers, and "Looking for the Helpers"

Photo credit: Robert Nelson

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Annie writes about life, motherhood, world issues, beautiful places, and anything else that tickles her brain. On good days, she enjoys juggling life with her husband and homeschooling her children. On bad days, she binges on chocolate chips and dreams of traveling the world alone.

Comments 19

  1. Pattie Jobes

    Mass murder is not new to this generation. To conquer the west, we disarmed the American Indian, then they were slaughtered. Bonnie and Clyde, and many others walked into banks in broad daylight and opened fire on many innocent people, Hitler disarmed the Israelites and led them to slaughter. We’ve had serial killers who snuck around in the dark and used knives, ropes and even their bare hands to murder. Stricter gun laws will only disarm the innocent people from protecting themselves. You don’t declaw a cat and send it to the jungle and expect it to survive.

  2. Lauren Kibler

    Thank you. You are now my favorite. I wish we could be real life friends. As I morn and continue to get angry about the state of our country, your words will replay in my mind. It is time for change. I vote for anyone that says they are going to try and make that change. It is now time for more. Next steps would be a great next post!

  3. Miranda

    Yes, you are completely right! I moved abroad 23 years ago before the gun problem in the US got so bad…….Watching it from over here (in Japan) is completely mind boggling. I am thankful on a daily basis that I left the US and live in complete freedom over here while kids never have lockdown drills and never have to worry about guns. No one wants a gun, no one has a gun, we all want it to stay that way. A gun isn’t freedom, it’s horror. I hope the US passes stringent gun control and starts the buyback programs they have in New Zealand to collect guns from the public and dispose of the guns and lessen the number of guns there.

  4. Erica

    A person of faith would know this is not a gun problem, it’s a sin problem. And instead of taking away the rights of law abiding citizens, the gospel must go out to all people. Only Jesus can fix this problem ❤️

    1. Tom C

      Sorry. (I was going to say “baloney”, but) It *is* a gun problem.

      A sinful person with a broadsword, a crossbow, or a scimitar cannot kill 20 movie-goers in 20 seconds. And Jesus, as wonderful as He is, doesn’t prevent sin, He forgives it or casts it out. (I’m assuming, based on what I’ve been told).

      The article states it perfectly well. Other countries, populated with folks no better than us, have less deaths by gun and less fear generated by the threat of senseless mass destruction. The difference appears to be their availability of firearms and their seriousness about sensible regulations. For those who still value hunting and shooting sports (including myself), Americans had better start identifying those people and those firearms who should not be allowed to mingle.

    2. Obesa

      You can say that about virtually everything wrong in our society and leave it up to Jesus. I’m a woman of faith but I believe God gave us brain and discernment for a reason. Please don’t go out in the world as if you represent Gospel.

    3. Nathalie

      That’s being very narrow minded. I’m sorry. I support that you think that your faith is the answer and that works for you. That’s amazing.
      But unfortunately, if you honestly and truly believe that it’s because of sinners. You are living in a lie.
      If you think about it everyone has sinned, and if you don’t think that, you’re lying to yourself. It also depends on your religion. So you can’t say it’s a sin because it’s your beliefs because then you’re being racist against others & what they believe to be sins.
      I ask you to really think about that……because if I don’t believe in God but a higher power am I a sinner? Or not believing in God at all? Or what if I believe in multiple Gods? Or just maybe I believe that you should treat others as you would like to be treated. It’s respect, having a conversation with judging and just morals. Religion is can be pure evil because no one religion is right, I think that everyone of them has valid points. Not one of them is superior to another. Regardless of which faith you follow, I’m pretty curtain that the majority don’t mean harm to others……..

    4. Em

      So true. We can’t fix the problem by treating the symptom. Knowledge of the gospel, of what Jesus has done for each and every one of us, is the only thing that can save us and our country. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t use laws to govern behavior and create a safe and free land (as much as is possible in a fallen world); but laws will never change peoples’ hearts. History proves that. My prayer is that this increasing horror that is mass shootings will drive the necessary passion for a revival that America so badly needs. And I have faith that God will do that since he promises to use ALL things for good. My energy will be poured into sharing Christ’s love. Not in arguing over politics, which will never change a single heart. And not in fearing the future, which I know is secure in my Lord and Savior no matter what happens to me here on Earth.

    1. Bethany blank

      Empower women, because all living things must flow thru a mother at one point or anther in life!!

  5. Kathy Fein

    Mr Rogers was talk to children about looking for helpers, not grownups. It is we grown ups who need to take action, who need to be the helpers, so we can protect the children. Apart from that, I totally agree.

  6. Joan

    Annie you just wrote the most sane article I have ever read. I am not American but I love you country & humanity. There are things that can be done. Look at New Zealand. Look at other countries for examples or just think. We can send people to outer space so we can find a solution. Don’t give up! Bless you & all who work to see great change & a better day. PS: I backpacked around the world for a year at 55. You can too!

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