The activism since the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine’s day, particularly the response to the “thoughts and prayers“, is beyond anything I can recall.
Perhaps the most prominent event is March For Our Lives on March 24, organized by survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. There’s a national walkout (student-organized) on April 20, the anniversary of Columbine as well as a national walkout (Women’s March organized) on March 17.
However, politician “thoughts and prayers” statements are ubiquitous after a mass shooting, as this image from October 2, 2017 lampoons:
Nevertheless, the words are typed out, again and again.
My thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and everyone in Oak Creek who has been impacted by this tragic act of violence.
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) August 5, 2012
I collected your thoughts and prayers tweets. pic.twitter.com/E2xyKnLykd
— Issy (@issyelliot) February 23, 2018
Critics decry the fact #ThoughtsAndPrayers are the extent of GOP involvement: no acknowledgement of a problem means no further action. But this shooting has motivated critics beyond the response to the horror that was Las Vegas.
And the satire continues, almost two weeks after the shooting. #neverForget, indeed.
Sailor J is a popular YouTube make up artist. Her satirical look at a “thoughts and prayers” line of makeup includes a link to a GoFundMe for Parkland. She deserves your attention and up-vote.
Instagram is the home of the visual meme, and my colleague Leslie-Jean Thornton at ASU routinely archives them. Unlike prior mass shootings, this one has legs (life beyond 48 hours).
Twitter, in general, attracts an older demographic and one that is more text-focused than visual. But #thoughtsAndPrayers is a popular hashtag there, too.
1) Keep my kids alive;
2) Ban AR-15 assault weapons;
3) Send my thoughts & prayers to those grieving the loss of their AR-15s.
— Glennon Doyle (@GlennonDoyle) February 17, 2018
— Rhuta Bhayga (@RhutaBhayga2) February 16, 2018
Here's another protest we can do. Write a check to your GOP representatives, instead of an amount you write "Thoughts and Prayers" Mark out your routing and checking account number. pic.twitter.com/mEgLUkqVDt
— Desert Gal (@RealDesertRat) February 18, 2018
— Steve Marmel (@Marmel) February 17, 2018
“If all our government and President can do is send thoughts and prayers, then it’s time for victims to be the change that we need to see.” – @Emma4Change
— GirlLove (@SpreadGirlLove) February 21, 2018
“How about instead of the Secret Service protecting the president, we just give 1 in 5 White House employees a gun?”. ~ Greg Laden
* And toss in a lot of thoughts and prayers.
— Vote Dem for the Planet (@Brasilmagic) February 24, 2018
Proud to have delivered our campaign donation of #thoughtsandprayers to @RepDougCollins today with @App_Indivisible. We need gun control NOW. @IndivisibleTeam #StandIndivisible pic.twitter.com/ntkDIwR6Ei
— Indivisible Lumpkin (@IndivisibleLum) February 23, 2018
You’ll see this image in the wild a lot (even though the artist requests a licensing fee)
Tabloids are part of the chorus
From the New York Daily News in 2015, after the California mass shooting, to the New York Post after Parkland in 2018:
— New York Post (@nypost) February 16, 2018
NRA affiliates abandoning ship
In advocacy not unlike the movement that led advertisers to abandon Rush Limbbaugh, NRA critics began calling for companies affiliated with the National Rifle Association to drop their partnerships.
The first to bail was the private credit card company First National of Omaha.
Other affiliates have joined the exodus, leading to this closing #thoughtsAndPrayers tweet:
Not too tough if you’re all crying about losing a discount. For real? How about crying about kids getting slaughtered. No? Too much to ask? Well, here’s some thoughts and prayers to all those who mourn those discounts. pic.twitter.com/oyLOmrZ6jQ
— Simona Prochazka (@ProchaSim) February 25, 2018
Featured image: modified from Reddit