Wednesday, May 25, 2022

A Room of My Own: "Thoughts and Prayers" Tanka

written in response to the Texas school shooting: 

God doesn't give you
more than you can handle ...
in dim light
these "thoughts and prayers" sharp
like a thousand bullets

FYI: Thoughts and Prayers, Urban DictionaryAn expression of indifference to tragedy intended to seem empathetic.

Hollow gestures trivializing loss.

"Yes, I know you want action to keep shooting sprees from happening to someone else. I'll send thoughts and prayers."

-- Dex Novice February 11, 2018 

NPR, May 25: In the 10 years since Sandy Hook, gun laws in the U.S. haven't changed much. And  Economist, May 25: The spate of gun violence shows American exceptionalism at its worst: Texas and the country are weeping, again. But will anyone act?


written in response to The Wrap, May 25: The View Hosts Rage Against GOP on Guns: If ‘Thoughts and Prayers’ Were Real, ‘You’d Have Done Something’

thoughts and prayers ...
another round of pop, pop, pop
loud and louder 

FYI: Time, May 25: School Shootings Confirm That Guns Are the Religion of the Right, written by Samuel L. Perry,  sociologists of religion and co-author of The Flag And The Cross

Sometimes calls for America to return to God are couched in the language of consolation. Especially after a mass shooting. When 19 children were killed at school in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Republican from Colorado, tweeted that “It is in times like these that we should, as individuals, communities, and as a nation, turn to God for comfort and healing.” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia followed deflection — “Our nation needs to take a serious look at the state of mental health today” – with denial: “We don’t need more gun control We need to return to God.”

There’s a reason we always hear calls for Christian nationalism rather than for common sense gun legislation from the right. As we have shown in our research, guns are practically an element of worship in the church of white Christian nationalism. Gun rights thus must be defended at all costs.

Along with “thoughts and prayers”—a response so hollow it has become a meme for contempt — Christian nationalist calls like Greene’s are often accompanied by warnings not to “politicize the deaths,” as worship leader and MAGA advocate Sean Feucht put it in his own tweet: “We need to call on God. We need him back in schools. We need him to heal our country. He is our only hope.” Evangelical Christian and Lieutenant Gov. of Texas Dan Patrick went on the Tucker Carlson show hours after the massacre to say “We gotta unify in prayer. We have to unify in faith…This was a country founded on faith, Tucker. And that’s why together we have to come together as a people. Don’t politicize it. Don’t point fingers.”

...Rep. Brian Babin, a Texas Republican, told a Newsmax interviewer “The United States of America has always had guns. It’s our history. We were built on the Judeo-Christian foundation and with guns.”...

And because guns are essential to America’s core identity for the right, gun rights are held sacred above every other right. That’s not hyperbole. We conducted another representative survey of over 1,000 Americans in August 2021, giving respondents a list of rights provided in the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution – the Bill of Rights. Among whites who said America should be a Christian nation, more than 4 in 10 named the right to keep and bear arms as the most important right. Not freedom of speech. Not even freedom of religion. Gun rights.

There is a logic at work here. As we show in our recent book The Flag and the Cross, white Christian nationalism is ultimately about controlling who gets access to cultural and political power, and thus is fundamentally anti-democratic. Access to guns is about protecting the freedoms of white conservatives to suppress disorder. This is why, among white Americans who believe the United States should be a Christian nation, 82% believe “The best way to stop bad guys with guns is to have good guys with guns.” The goal isn’t to rid the world of gun violence. The goal is to suppress “bad guy violence” with righteous violence—our violence. And that requires guns....

What’s needed is a coalition of American politicians and citizens—secular and religious—who value the protection of innocent human life above power. Without that, the ritual will continue: Horrific deaths, followed by thoughts and prayers, calls to return to God, and no change.

And Global News, May 25: Agony and anger rise in aftermath of Uvalde, Texas school shooting

2022 School Shootings in the USA:

27 shootings with injuries or deaths

2022 Mass Shootings in the USA:

213 mass shootings ( 1.5/ day average) 

Added: This Brave New World, XLI
written in response to Poet and activist Amanda Gorman's poem, The truth is, one nation under guns

shoot better 
if someone's breaking
into your home ...
flanked by two giant flags
the sheriff repeats loudly

FYI: ABC News, April 26: Florida sheriff: "Shoot if someone's breaking into your home:" A Florida sheriff invited a homeowner who shot at a would-be robber to attend a gun safety course to “learn to shoot a lot better” to “save the taxpayers money.

Added: This Brave New World, XLII
written in response to NPR, May 26: The NRA says its Houston convention will "reflect on" the Uvalde school shooting

"150 years strong" 
in giant white letters
at the entrance
the NRA member repeats,
it's a demon control problem

FYI: Politico, May 27: 'It's straight out of a playbook': At NRA convention, conspiracy theories abound. To many attendees, the mass shooting in Uvalde was about mental illness and dark forces pushing their own agendas. 

And the heartfelt and thought-provoking reflection from Amanda Gorman 

The 24-year-old National Youth Poet Laureate tweeted about Tuesday's mass shooting, saying, "It takes a monster to kill children. But to watch monsters kill children again and again and do nothing isn't just insanity – it's inhumanity. The truth is, one nation under guns." 

Schools scared to death.
The truth is, one education under desks,
Stooped low from bullets;
That plunge when we ask
Where our children
Shall live
& how
& if

-- excerpted from CBC News, May 26: Amanda Gorman pens poem in wake of Texas school shooting: "The truth is, one education under desks"


all guns banned
during Trump's NRA speech
a member
shoots a protesting woman
with his two finger guns

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