This weekend brought two more instances where our leaders employed the “thoughts and prayers” public relations cliché. If our leaders truly thought and prayed, maybe they might do something about it. I’m not counting on it.
Our leaders want to blame the NRA, but the gun industry is worth $11 billion. Some other leaders want to blame video games, but that industry is worth $135 billion. Yet others want to claim mental health issues, but these same leaders don’t want to invest in mental health care.
When profits drive politics, nothing gets done.
But we can do something. If we truly thought and prayed, perhaps we might feel a little compassion for others. Maybe that compassion will change our own actions.
Think about the legacies of those lives that were lost. Think about the impact these tragedies had on the families of victims and even perpetrators. Think how their work lives, their family time, and their social gatherings now carry the imprint of this pain. They can’t even escape this tragedy because it will be repeated in the news media for several days, maybe weeks to come.
We could pray for the family and friends to find the space to grieve for their loved ones. We pray that they will find solace in this time of great pain. If we aren’t praying types, we could speak the names of all those involved, acknowledging their suffering because at one time, we have suffered ourselves.
If we think about how our actions impact others, maybe we could change how we treat others. Even if we aren’t spiritual or religious, we could still send warm regards to others, even to people whom you believe won’t benefit you.
It could be something as small as acknowledging someone’s presence as you walk by on the street. It might be smiling at the cashier who seems to be scattered that day. You never know what might have scattered the cashier — he might have found out his friend was killed by a shooter. It doesn’t mean you have to shove your own issues onto him because his behavior has inconvenienced you.
Let’s show some kindness and compassion for others. Let’s look up from our phones and acknowledge that someone else is there. Let’s extend our thoughts and prayers to all — and truly mean it.