Mass murder and the problem with prayer


By now, everyone with an internet connection knows about the San Bernardino, California shooting that claimed the lives of at least 14 people. A tragedy like this, while deeply troubling, should not be surprising to those paying attention. As Christopher Ingraham of The Washington Post reported in August, “we’re now averaging more than one mass shooting per day.” But the reaction on social media was less predictable. From Senator Lindsey Graham to Governor George Pataki, Twitter and Facebook were peppered with comments from conservatives who promised their “thoughts and prayers” to the victims affected by the shooting. In response, many advocates of gun reform fired back with a round of “prayer shaming,” claiming that their sentiments were hollow because they were not backed up by tangible legislative proposals. The liberal watchdog website “Think Progress” even accused these well wishers of having been bought by the National Rifle Association.