My Thoughts and Prayers

With the latest school shooting in Sante Fe, Texas, the epidemic of unfathomable, irrational, unforgivable violence that has led to one school shooting after another in America has hit too close to home. The high school I graduated from, Alvin High School, is roughly a 20 minute drive from the high school in Santa Fe. I have family and friends living in Santa Fe, and while none of my immediate family or friends were shot, I grieve with the community that is today shaken to its core.

It is hard to know exactly what to say – even what to think – in such a situation. And yet so many will say, “Our thoughts and prayers are with Santa Fe.” What precisely are these “thoughts” and these “prayers”?

My own immediate reaction was that my mind went numb as I checked for details about friends and family members. What thoughts exactly were with the people in Santa Fe, when my mind was too numb to hold a thought? I have been trying to process this question myself, and it has been much more difficult to do than with the “usual” mass shooting (and yes, I am appalled that I can even utter those words), because this one hit so close to home, and hit in a community that I know is still recovering from a devastating storm that struck them last year.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott offered these words in response to the shooting, “We want to hear from everybody who has an interest in what has happened today so we can work together on putting together laws that will protect second amendment rights but at the same time ensure that our communities and especially our schools are safer places.

In my reactions to these words, some of my own thoughts have been clarified. I do not doubt the sincerity of Governor Abbott, nor do I doubt that he is utterly heartbroken over this tragedy that has hit in the state he governs. However, I do question the wisdom of his priorities. How is it that protection of second amendment rights are placed before the safety of “our communities and especially our schools” in his list of concerns? My thoughts? My thoughts are that we must protect our children, whatever the cost to you and me. We must prioritize that first, without consideration of what rights an old document has guaranteed us, no matter how revered that document is in the political system under which we live. If we put first things first, we might come to some solutions. If, on the other hand, we prioritize that which is secondary, this will not stop. In fact, I fear it will only escalate and turn into an even worse situation – even though I find it hard to imagine what could be worse than this.

Those are my thoughts.

This is my prayer. I pray that we will humble ourselves enough to make any sacrifice necessary to protect, love, guide, and nurture our children. I pray we will think of them above ourselves. I pray they will be given the right to grow at least as old as you and I are. And, I pray that as they do so, they will grow wiser, kinder, more compassionate, more loving, and more generous than we have ever been.


7 Comments to “My Thoughts and Prayers”

  1. Prayers with the community around that they are comforted. Put down all grievances and seek forgiveness for others which also seek peace within self. For those who hold the law and order that they have the wisdom and can quickly step in to reinforce it so as to prevent such crime and mindsets from happening again.

  2. Loved your post, Shelley. Thank you for writing it.

  3. Thank you, Chee Keen and Pat!

  4. I share your perspective. I worry too that some of the ways that have been suggested to protect our kids are in themselves dangerous to kids. Arming teachers? Posting armed guards at schools, churches, and public venues? Beyond the obvious risk of arming teachers (so many guns in schools which could and certainly will sometimes get into the hands of the very children they are meant to protect, armed teachers who aren’t fully/properly trained in the safest use of firearms, arming teachers who may or may not be mentally stable enough to carry a firearm, etc.) I believe that raising our kids with the unspoken (or spoken) message that no place is safe is an extraordinarily unwise and dangerous thing to do. We’d all be far better served to make those places as safe as possible.

    • I’ve bee shocked to see that this is the response that is winning out in many places. “I know how to reduce shootings! Increase the number of guns!” Anyone who can’t see the folly of this line of thinking is simply so resistant to the conclusions that would follow that they are unwilling to admit the logical flaw of their own thought. If the goal is to decrease shootings, the answer cannot possibly be to increase guns. The possibility for mishaps (whether accidental or intentional) increases with each gun introduced on the scene, and the consequences of any mishap are so dire that it really shouldn’t be that hard to see.

      I’m heartbroken by the strange drive I see in those who are pushing the gun agenda. It’s not even a Second Amendment agenda, because their interpretation of gun rights goes well beyond what the Second Amendment guarantees. There is another agenda behind it, and I am honestly having trouble understanding what that agenda is. I do realise that this means that gun advocates and I are actually not even having the same conversation, even if we often use the same words. We are probably actually talking about two totally different things.

  5. Thank you Shelly for writing so clearly about the insufficiency of mere thoughts and prayers to the families and community mourning the loss of their future teachers, doctors, lawyers and preachers. Prayers are good. But God requires that we do more to discredit the distorted ideas of freedom without responsibility and individuality above community, so present within the culture of the present generation. Keep writing! This is absolutely one of your many gifts!

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