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Action, not sentiment, needed

By Staff | Feb 21, 2018

To the editor:

Congressman Rooney’s early response to the Parkland school massacre in which 17 students and staff lost their lives, was a sentiment-free meme on Facebook that parroted the overworked “thoughts and prayers” response by which the NRA crowd has responded to every gun tragedy since Sandy Hook. It was, at best, tone-deaf and underwhelming.

At its worst, the response underscores Republican politicians’ dog-whistle/Bat Signal to the NRA. “No problem,” it says. “Everything will cool down – it always does. We’ll fix it by not fixing it. Just keep the campaign cash coming.” Ugh.

You, with consciences, may be really sick of Thoughts and Prayers. Survivors, and the rest of us really need heartfelt sentiments.

Just a few mass shooting statistics for the U.S.:

– 2017 – Incidents: 11; Dead: 117; Wounded: 587

– 2018 – Incidents: 2; Dead: 21; Wounded: at least 16

By contrast, Australia, where guns are illegal to possess, had six deaths in all of 2017, a vehicular attack. Its last previous fatal attack was in 2014, when eight people were stabbed to death.

In 2017, Canada lost six to a gunman in an attack on a mosque.

Maybe the populations of those two countries are less angry than the U.S. But one factor is certain: both countries have far fewer guns and far more restrictions of how and why you may possess them. And it’s also possible that the mental health of the U.S. is so much more degraded than that of Australia or Canada? But that may be a topic for a different time.

It seems certain that Americans need much more than “thoughts and prayers,: particularly from our elected officials. We need action.

David C. Fetzer