Politics and civics

Thoughts and prayers, a “solution” to mass shootings, is widely ridiculed

Activists turn “thoughts and prayers,” the gun lobby’s response to mass shootings, on its head in the wake of Parkland massacre.

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:

thoughts and prayers, imager

Nevertheless, the words are typed out, again and again.

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.






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:

NY Daily News
December 3, 2015 front page of the New York Daily News

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:

Featured image: modified from Reddit

By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.