Thoughts and Prayers

peace on earth

Every Action Matters! Treat everyone with respect.

Fill the world with positive energy, listen intensely and remember to smile!

There is a solution to gun violence, at least some of it, but Americans are incapable of electing leaders with good sense, and gun violence in America is rampant. Death by guns has become the number one killer of America’s children and teens. Why do we vote from fear rather than truth and understanding?

The post below is from a Dutch man, Alexander Verbeek. He writes a newsletter, The Planet, and his Daily Planet Newsletter :

“It’s time for America to prioritize the safety and well-being of its citizens over corporate interests and the opportunism of politicians.”

A hundred years from now, historians will study the first decades of this century and shake their heads in disbelief about this age of folly. They will wonder why problems that caused unmeasurable harm to so many people were discussed as if there was no readily available solution.

One of these problems is school shootings.

While all western countries have adopted gun control laws that have proved exceptionally effective in reducing mass shootings, the U.S. can’t solve its gun pandemic. The latest addition to America’s heavy book of gun misery and shame was just hours ago when a woman entered a Christian school in Nashville and fatally shot three children and three staff members. Then the police fatally shot her.

End of story.

Not for the family members; think of the lifelong trauma for the parents of these kids. And think of the lives not lived, playing, studying, loving, and caring. But thoughts don’t help, and prayers have proven to be just as useless in preventing the next shooting as the politicians that refuse to take action on gun control.

In a democracy, people vote for politicians that will govern the country for them. However, if corporate greed has taken over democracy, lives become the currency to pay for the higher shareholder value of gun factories. Therefore, gun control in America is about the moral values of politicians.

The only country in the world with more guns than people

The U.S. has more guns than people, with 121 guns for each hundred Americans, which was still 88 in 2011. It puts America at the top position on the world ranking of gun ownership. The runner-up is Yemen, with 53 percent. It’s lonely at the top.

And the numbers of mass shootings in the U.S. are on the rise, increasing from 273 in 2014 to 647 last year. Sadly, this means you will forget about today’s mass shooting in Nashville. Because who can remember more than 600 names of towns where mass shootings occur yearly in the U.S.?

I’m a Dutchman, and I can quickly sum up all the city names where we ever had a mass shooting in the Netherlands in my lifetime; it’s not difficult to remember two city names.

We have more bicycles than people, while the U.S. has more guns than inhabitants. Bikes are good for your health, and people who cycle to work are happy. But the positive effect of firearms on health remains to be proven, nor do guns seem to make people particularly happy.

And a few more statistics: in the U.S., 79 percent of homicides are gun-related killings; in the U.K., that is four percent. Every half hour, an American is fatally shot.

An assault weapons ban

While I type these numbers, I check for the latest updates. No surprises here; politicians, gun lobbyists, and journalists all have their playbooks ready. So I read about useless details and know now what door the shooter used to get into the school (lesson learned: all schools lock your side door). President Biden, for decades already on the right (meaning left) side of gun history, calls on Congress to pass an assault weapons ban. Parents are interviewed, describing the horror, as if I need to be convinced. I read that the fire department created a reunification area, and the church opened its doors. For thoughts. And for prayers, of course.

Let’s pray for politicians who actually do what they are supposed to do; to lead, to represent the will of the overwhelming majority (57%) who want stricter gun laws. As a politician, you’re not supposed to get rich; you’re asked by your people to serve. You’re also not supposed to be the voice of the 10% of the voters who want less strict gun laws unless you represent that minority.

Perhaps it is time to add a name and a picture to this story. The Republican Andrew Ogles represents the Nashville district where the latest school shooting occurred. He reacted to the shooting by saying he was “utterly heartbroken” by the shooting.

Not so fast: this is the 2021 Christmas card of Ogles and his happy family, showing a true Christian spirit.

Fast forward to 2123, when those historians of the future study the news clippings of March 27, 2023. Again, they wearily shake their heads. They conclude that a massive structural failure in American politics allowed the killing of its people to go on. At the same time, there was no other western country with a killing score that even remotely came near to the nearly two mass shootings per day record of the U.S.

And the future historians will study the wisdom of Rep. Ogles who expressed today: “We are sending our thoughts and prayers to the families of those lost”.

It’s time for America to prioritize the safety and well-being of its citizens over corporate interests and the opportunism of politicians.

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