Because of the vacuum of moral leadership in the Trump administration, Americans are choosing to make their voices heard via Twitter. This functions not only as a vent for frustrations surrounding the uniquely American tragedy of almost constant mass shootings, but as a venue for the exchange of correct information. Twitter can also act as a consensus building tool, helping those who are dissatisfied with the current state of affairs.
Following the horrific (but not isolated) school shooting in Florida that left 17 dead, Republican politicians were quick pray but slow to give absolutely any meaningful proposals to keep this violence from happening. Since the United States government has neglected to enact any legislation (either addressing the availability of guns or the mental health crisis often blamed for mass shootings), there is a predictable cycle that usually follows these mass murders.
Republicans keep the victims in their thoughts and prayers. The next step is for Republicans to issue a vague statement about the “real” cause of the violence (hint: it’s not the availability of guns). Following this, Republican lawmakers then respond to any calls for political action to end this crisis of violence as too soon and disrespectful to the victims.
The one test of the true motives behind this last statement are Republican lawmakers actions regarding gun legislation in the weeks after a tragedy like this. If the immediate aftermath is an inappropriate time to address the roots of our violence-saturated culture and the excessive access to high-powered weapons, it goes to reason that these Republicans think that there is an appropriate time to address it.
But, as the old adagé goes, if the murder of twenty children at Sandy Hook didn’t motivate change, nothing will.
President Trump’s response fell exactly in line with what one would expect:
My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting. No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2018
Maybe as a result of the stunning lack of morality and empathetic governing that this past year of the Trump administration has repeatedly exhibited, Trump’s claim that he is praying for victims ignited fury.
Author Stephen King predicted Trump’s response about an hour before Trump sent the above tweet:
Broward school shooting–There will be prayers from Blabbermouth Don, Pence the Grinch, and their rightwing cohorts. There will be no call for any sort of sane gun regs.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) February 14, 2018
When he was proven correct, he tweeted again:
See? See? What'd I tellya? Here's Blabbermouth Don, just praying his fat ass off! (As if.) https://t.co/b0yEvcSKzH
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) February 14, 2018
Regular Americans seemed to share the same sense of rage and disbelief at our current violence-soaked culture and the constant stream of weapons that enable these horrific scenes:
The closest he got to prayer, was writing the word prayer.
— nic (@hazmatnz) February 14, 2018
Hard to believe this keeps happening given the unprecedented amount of thoughts and prayers just this year alone.
— John Brosnan (@birdflyoverlake) February 14, 2018
Like that shitbird has ever prayed or thought about anything past the end of his own tangerine nose type thing…. pic.twitter.com/BwHVsyXv3y
— Bimmerella? (@bimmerella) February 15, 2018
I've never understood what good or purpose "sending prayers" through social media does for anyone during or after a tragedy.
— B=Mc (@BrianAnthonyMc) February 14, 2018
— T. Beaumont (@Zebrafarm2000) February 14, 2018
The next massacre won't happen until tomorrow. It's much too early to talk about gun laws.
— Mike Connell (@M2Connell) February 14, 2018
I'm trying to imagine someone telling me 20 years ago that every two days someone would shoot at kids in school and no one would ever do anything about it.
— A Wookie from the Bay #RehireChuckWendig (@anujrock101) February 14, 2018
After these reactionary words are said, during our mourning we will hear, "Now is not the time to talk about this". It is a vicious senseless cycle Einstein addressed: "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results".
— Gary D. Hendricks (@Gadflywriter) February 14, 2018
Doesn’t pray. Says he prays. Doesn’t.
— Amy Holden Jones (@aholdenj) February 15, 2018
— I Teach in Philly (@ITeachinPhil) February 15, 2018
He’s all talk and no show. I don’t think he even remembers how to pray, let alone keep marriage vows. pic.twitter.com/C9hLyEUWMJ
— Felicia M Ruiz✌?? (@katwomanfifi) February 15, 2018
How could they NOT feel unsafe considering the lack of action by these @NRA bitches?
— Helo Japes (@HeloJapes) February 15, 2018
Fucking thoughts and prayers will get us nothing. I’m sick about another senseless shooting
— S. Makrauer (@lvshoes1) February 15, 2018
……"thoughts and prayers alone are a grossly inadequate response to our country’s self-inflicted cancer of gun violence"…Editorial board Sun Sentinel.
— Janice Francis (@mauizoo) February 15, 2018
If only he had the power or position to actually do something about gun violence. Or heart. Or intellect.
— Patrick Girouard (@drawboy) February 14, 2018
First time despicable #trump has acknowledged a school shooting. Location obviously matters to him.
— K Shimo (@kelshimo) February 14, 2018
The NRA contributed over $30 million to his campaign. They own him.
— JPB (@bookeraptor) February 14, 2018
Can I tell you what we should pray for? Some action from the geniuses in Congress on gun control. Now there's a prayer.
— Joe Lawley (@jlawley77) February 14, 2018
And yet they don't feel safe. I have had to shield a 6 year old from the news so she isn't scared to go to class. To FIRST GRADE.
— MJY (@MJoY075) February 15, 2018
And quietly overturning Obama’s bill in February 2017 https://t.co/rNdsokDfzd
— Debbie Twa (@mombear4) February 15, 2018
Featured image: KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty