What Informs Your Thoughts and Prayers?

Last Wednesday, student Nikolas Cruz shot and killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida. Like many of you, I was saddened to hear about one more mass shooting. This case is especially grave since early news reports revealed that he had a history of violence, and it was so evident that his classmates used to joke that he would become a murderer one day. In fact, senior administrators and teachers at his school were warned about him. Still the shooting happened. Still many politicians and other people are offering thoughts and prayers to the victims.

The day after the shooting, I saw that several friends had posted the following photo on Facebook:


My reaction to the photo was mixed. Why can’t we have thoughts and prayers as well as policy and change? While I respect that not everyone believes in thoughts and prayers, why do thoughts and prayers have to be framed as mutually exclusive from policy and change?

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