maybe we should call them the “thoughts and prayers squad”

Es­ti­mated reading time is 6 minutes.

YOU’RE IN MY THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS is fairly common con­do­lence, al­though for many it sounds like a plat­i­tude. Merriam-Webster de­fines plat­i­tude as “a banal, trite, or stale re­mark” while Google de­fines it as “a re­mark or state­ment, es­pe­cially one with a moral con­tent, that has been used too often to be in­ter­esting or thoughtful.”

While we may as­sume that this ex­pres­sion is a true re­flec­tion of the be­liefs of mil­lions of people, we may also as­sume that it is a mere plat­i­tude for others. For mil­lions of other people, this state­ment has gone far be­yond the banal, trite, and stale and has be­come an of­fen­sive remark—sort of a lengthy four-letter word.

An­other mass shooting fol­lowed by an­other round of thoughts and prayers sent to Heaven without a thing being done to pre­vent the need for more thoughts and prayers here on Earth.

This ar­ticle was in­spired by the car­i­ca­tures below of Sen­a­tors Ted Cruz and Mitch Mc­Connell and Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mar­jorie Taylor Greene. All three are promi­nent politi­cians along with being promi­nent ob­sta­cles to the pas­sage of any mean­ingful gun con­trol laws in this country.

Need­less to say, the in­di­vid­uals that I sug­gest we call the Thoughts and Prayers Squad are any politi­cians who offer end­less religious-tainted plat­i­tudes in­stead of ac­tu­ally doing things that could re­duce the slaughter of the in­no­cents. This squad would in­clude quite a few promi­nent mem­bers of the Rep*blican Party.

Other people have other takes on re­liance on thoughts and words and the depth of feeling and be­lief when they are being expressed—especially by politi­cians. Some of those people are car­toon­ists. The car­toons below are a sample of the many now re­siding on the in­ternet that ad­dress this topic.


Thoughts and Prayers: caricature of Ted Cruz by Barry Blitt.

Thoughts and Prayers: caricature of Marjorie Tayler Greene by Barry Blitt.

Thoughts and Prayers: caricature of Mitch McConnell by Barry Blitt.

Car­i­ca­tures of Sen­ator Ted Cruz, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mar­jorie Taylor Greene, and Sen­ator Mitch Mc­Connell by Barry Blitt.

More thoughts and prayers

In the ar­ticle “Fox News is your HQ for post-Uvalde thoughts and prayers,” jour­nalist Erik Wemple opined about the use of the words “thoughts and prayers” by Rep*blican politi­cians and talking heads (May 27, 2022):

“An­other mass shooting, an­other round of thoughts and prayers on Fox News. Com­forting words are, of course, much needed in times of tragedy . . . But the re­treats to prayer, the dé­marches to re­li­gion, serve an­other pur­pose for Fox News and its GOP constituency—that of de­flecting pres­sure for gun con­trol and, more gen­er­ally, shifting re­spon­si­bility away from elected leaders.”

Wemple notes that Dan Patrick, the Lieu­tenant Gov­ernor of Texas, ap­peared on the Tucker Carlson Tonight (May 24, 2022) where he opined:

“We’ve got to unify in prayer, we have to unify in faith. We have to unify in who are we. When I grew up—and most of the people watching grew up, and you—we didn’t have these sit­u­a­tions, we didn’t have mass shooters in our schools, we didn’t have this evil.”

Wemple de­fined Carlson as a “self-described ad­ver­sary of America’s ruling elites” and noted that the host “had his chance to pounce.” Wemple continued: 

“Here was an elected leader, faced with a na­tional crisis, taking refuge in re­li­gious plat­i­tudes. So Carlson pushed him to show some ac­tual lead­er­ship, right? Uh, well: ‘When you say your prayers are with people, you seem to mean it,’ Carlson said, pref­acing this re­quest: ‘Tell us why you think it’s im­por­tant to pray in a mo­ment like this.’

Patrick then un­spooled a 321-word re­sponse that in­cluded a frank dis­til­la­tion of post-massacre po­lit­ical strategy for the gun-rights crowd: ‘This was a country founded on faith, Tucker. And that’s why . . . we have to come to­gether as a people—don’t politi­cize it. Don’t point fin­gers. We’ll figure all this out af­ter­wards and we’ll do better, and everyone will learn from it.”

There are lots of ques­tions being asked on Fox News in the af­ter­math of Uvalde, as well as so­lu­tions being of­fered. Media Mat­ters for America, a non­profit watchdog group that mon­i­tors Fox News, has stitched to­gether a video of fifty ideas pre­sented on that net­work to pre­vent an­other school mas­sacre. None in­volved gun control.”


Thoughts and Prayers: pro gun-control cartoon by Signe Wilkinson

Car­toon by Signe Wilkinson.

 Thoughts and Prayers: pro gun-control cartoon by Bruce MacKinnon.

Car­toon by Bruce MacKinnon.


Thoughts and Prayers: pro gun-control cartoon by Mike Lukovich.

Car­toon by Mike Lukovich.


Thoughts and Prayers: pro gun-control cartoon by Walt Handelsman.

Car­toon by Walt Handelsman.

The good guy with a gun to the rescue!

Here are some sta­tis­tics from the ar­ticle “The ‘Good Guy with a Gun’ Myth” about the ef­fec­tive­ness of having a gun and trying to stop a crime:

•  People suc­cess­fully de­fend them­selves with guns in less than 1% of crimes in which there is con­tact be­tween a per­pe­trator and a victim.

•  An FBI analysis of 160 ac­tive shooter in­ci­dents from 2000 to 2013 found that ac­tive shooter in­ci­dents were rarely stopped by armed in­di­vid­uals who were not law en­force­ment re­turning fire. In fact, four times as many shoot­ings were stopped by un­armed civil­ians re­straining the shooter.

•  The gun lobby claims that shooters target “gun-free zones” be­cause they fear a “good guy with a gun,” and that arming more people in more places will deter crime. How­ever, most mass shooters target a spe­cific person, group, or in­sti­tu­tion with whom they have a griev­ance, making it un­likely that a gun-free policy af­fects the choice of target.

•  No cred­ible sta­tis­tical ev­i­dence ex­ists to show that per­mis­sive con­cealed carry laws re­duce crime. In­stead, the ev­i­dence sug­gests that laws that make it easier for more people to carry guns in public may ac­tu­ally in­crease the fre­quency of some types of vi­o­lent crime, in­cluding gun homicides.

And yet, for Rep*blican politi­cians across the country, the beat goes on.


Cartoon ThoughtsAndPrayers bulletholes 800

Car­toon by Ed Wexler.


Cartoon ThoughtsAndPrayers TooSoon 800

Car­toon by Dave Whamond.


Thoughts and Prayers: pro gun-control cartoon by Kevin Necessary.

Car­toon by Kevin Necessary.


Thoughts and Prayers: pro gun-control cartoon by Steve Sack.

Car­toon by Steve Sack.

The two squads

I coined the term “The Thoughts and Prayers Squad” in­tending it to be an ironic ref­er­ence to the other squad of elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives in Wash­ington, DC. For the past few years, the term “The Squad” had re­ferred to a small group of De­mo­c­ratic mem­bers of the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. It con­sists of Alexan­dria Ocasio-Cortez (known as A.O.C.), Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib (each elected in 2028) along with  Ja­maal Bowman and Cori Bush (each elected in 2020).

Ocasio-Cortez, the ac­knowl­edged if un­of­fi­cial leader, coined “The Squad” name a week after the 2018 elec­tion. Each member was elected while under the age of 50 and they rep­re­sent the de­mo­graphic di­ver­sity of a younger po­lit­ical gen­er­a­tion. All six are among the most pro­gres­sive politi­cians in DC, ad­vo­cating for poli­cies such as Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.

The mem­bers of my pro­posed Thoughts and Prayers Squad are among the most re­ac­tionary politi­cians in DC, ad­vo­cating for poli­cies such as re­laxing gun con­trol, crim­i­nal­izing abor­tion, and other goals of so-called “Trumpism.”

An­other mass shooting fol­lowed by an­other round of thoughts and prayers sent to Heaven without a thing being done to pre­vent the need for more thoughts and prayers here on Earth. Click To Tweet

Thoughts and Prayers: anti thoughts-and-prayers cartoon by David Rowe.

FEATURED IMAGE: The car­toon at the top of this page was cre­ated by David Rowe for The Aus­tralian Re­view and is ti­tled “Thoughts and Words.” It is not about Amer­ican mas­sacres: “By early No­vember 2019, bush­fires were al­ready costing lives and prop­er­ties. Prime Min­ister Scott Mor­rison faced a fierce back­lash on so­cial media after this tweet: ‘Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been so di­rectly and hor­ribly im­pacted by these fires.’ Rowe was dri­ving on a highway north of one of the blazes when he heard the Prime Min­ister on the radio. He im­me­di­ately pulled over and drew this cartoon.”




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