Parkland shooting anniversary sees a changed world over ‘thoughts & prayers’ (Danielle) News Release Archives – Freedom From Religion Foundation – Freedom From Religion Foundation

Read More News Release Archives – Freedom From Religion Foundation – Freedom From Religion Foundation On today’s fifth anniversary of the mass shooting at the Parkland, Fla., high school, Michigan House Majority Whip Ranjeev Puri had the guts to compose a letter and tweet over Monday’s mass shooting of college students in East Lansing that began: “Fuck your thoughts and prayers.”
After extending his condolences and decrying the fact that “going to school in America … means risking your life every day to the threat of a mass shooting,” Puri composed these powerful lines.
“Thoughts and prayers without action and change are meaningless,” Puri wrote. “Our office will continue to work tirelessly to pass common sense gun reform immediately. We will not stop until our students can attend school without fear, our communities can attend places of worship in peace, and our society is safe from senseless gun violence.”
In another development of note, it has been reported that the Michigan shooter, who killed three Michigan State University students and critically wounded five others before dying of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, had posted a bible verse on his profile — a very unpleasant one, as so many bible verses are: “I have given you the authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” Luke 10:19.
(For more about unpleasant bible verses, view FFRF’s interactive website featuring FFRF Co-President Dan Barker’s “unpleasant God” research.)
So far, what is known of the gunman includes the fact that the cover image of his now-locked Facebook page features the New Testament quote. He had a previous misdemeanor conviction in 2019 for possessing a loaded firearm in a vehicle, and spent a year and a half on probation.
It certainly should be no surprise that a deranged individual might go on a religion-obsessed rampage. Delusions, hallucinations, paranoia and other hallmarks of certain untreated mental illnesses might well make some individuals vulnerable to religiously influenced violence. The bible is replete with the black-and-white thinking of an egomaniacal and vengeful deity obsessed with sin and retribution. Tragically, this gunman clearly saw unarmed college students as “snakes and scorpions” and enemies. This ought to encourage some believers to examine the fruits of religion.
But the “why” in this national crisis seems far less important than the “how.” Does it really matter why someone starts gunning down others? Isn’t this question more important: What was this man who served probation for a gun offense doing with a gun? Even more pertinent: Why does America have more guns than it has people? Why are assault rifles available for purchase by civilians? Why do Congress and state legislatures sit on their hands as every year tens of thousands of us die from gun violence? The Gun Violence Archive counts 67 mass shootings already this year, and 647 mass shootings last year. The number of people shot on K-12 school property in 2022 numbers over 300 (not all mass shootings). In 2022, there were an estimated 20,138 firearm deaths — excluding suicides, another source of so many gun-related deaths.
Today is five years after the mass shooting of students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (named for a freethinking environmentalist, by the way), where 17 vital and promising students and some staff were killed. To mark the occasion, Associated Press produced a poignant roundup about the millions of dollars that have been raised by the grieving families in charities memorializing their loved ones. Notably, while undoubtedly some of the families are religious, none of the many useful and helpful charities honoring their loved ones is religion-based. They all go to help make this world a better place.
Just as important, most of the families also belong to Stand With Parkland, which is working nationally to enact gun safety and tougher school safety regulations and training. Freethinkers should likewise stand with Parkland, because as humanists, our purpose is to make this world, our only world, a better, safer and more rational place. That will never happen through “thoughts & prayers.”
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with approximately 40,000 members and several chapters across the country. It protects the constitutional separation between state and church and educates about nontheism.