Backlash to ‘thoughts and prayers’

Politicians who have opposed any gun control measures whatsoever are the ones who are quickest to send out ‘thoughts and prayers’ messages after yet another mass shooting and people are increasingly fed up with that meaningless piety that is never backed up by any concrete action.

Texas US senator Ted Cruz’s comment that he was “praying” for families of the eight victims killed in a shooting at a shopping mall in his state has sparked outrage as many critics say the Republican should advocate for meaningful gun control rather than repeatedly invoke prayer after mass, deadly violence.

The backlash came as President Joe Biden called on Congress to pass gun control bills in the wake of Saturday’s attack, in which the gunman was also killed, in Allen, Texas.

Cruz and other fellow Texas Republicans have faced similar backlash for citing general emotional support, thoughts, prayers or a combination thereof after the Texas slayings.

Shannon Watts, founder of gun safety group Moms Demand Action, said on Twitter: “YOU helped arm him with guns, ammo and tactical gear. He did exactly what you knew he’d do. Spare us your prayers and talk of justice for a gunman who is … dead.

“The only accountability we can hope for is that gun extremists like you are thrown into the ash heap of history.”

Star Trek actor George Takei added: “You’re worse than useless.”

Another Twitter user said thoughts and prayers “are nothing but blasphemy and evil”. Yet another quipped: “Have you tried turning the prayer machine off and back on again.”

Cruz has received more than $442,000 from organization which support keeping guns as accessible as possible, according to Axios and Open Secrets. He has used language referring to thought and prayers rather than restrictions on guns in reaction to other previous mass shootings in his state.


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