Legitimate Thoughts and Prayers

In light of the onslaught of thoughts and prayers from people who do nothing whatever to halt gun violence, it occurred to me to consider who, if anyone, has a legitimate right to send them to victims and families killed, injured or otherwise damaged by mass shootings. After much thought, here is my list of those I consider to have earned an exclusive, legitimate right to send their thoughts and prayers in such circumstances. This list is for the Modern Era only (I hope and trust the reader can glean the reason for the capitalization on his or her own).

The list consists of all victims (defined broadly) and their families who have been affected by the following events (or similar events omitted from this list by my ignorance):

The Columbine High School shootings, April 20, 1999;

The Heritage High School shooting, May 20, 1999;

The Chicago area shootings, July 2-4, 1999;

The Day Trader shootings, July 27-29, 1999;

The Los Angeles Jewish Community Center shootings, August 10, 1999;

The Wedgwood Baptist Church shooting, September 15, 1999;

The Xerox shootings, November 2, 1999;

The Carnegie, Pennsylvania shootings, April 28, 2000;

The Wendy’s Hamburger shootings, May 24, 2000;

The Wakefield shootings, December 26, 2000;

The Nevada County shootings, January 10, 2001;

The Santana High School shootings, March 5, 2001;

The Appalachian School of Law shootings, January 16, 2002;

The Los Angeles International Airport shootings, July 4, 2002;

The DC sniper shootings, February 16-October 23, 2002;

The John McDonogh High School shootings, April 14, 2003;

The Ennis shootings, June 13, 2003;

The Lockheed Martin shootings, July 8, 2003;

The Wesson family shootings, March 12, 2004;

The Wisconsin hunting trip shootings, November 21, 2004;

The Columbus night club shootings, December 8, 2004;

The Living Church of God shootings, March 12, 2005;

The Red Lake Indian Reservation shootings, March 21, 2005;

The Tacoma Mall shootings, November 20, 2005;

The Goleta post office shootings, January 30, 2006;

The Capitol Hill shootings, March 25, 2006;

The Seattle Jewish Federation shootings, July 28, 2006;

The West Nickel Mines School shootings, October 2, 2006;

The Trolley Square shootings, February 12, 2007;

The Virginia Tech shootings, April 16, 2007;

The Crandon duplex shootings, October 7, 2007;

The Westroads Mall shootings, December 5, 2007;

The Youth With A Mission and New Life Church shootings, December 9, 2007;

The Kirkwood City Council shootings, February 7, 2008;

The Northern Illinois University shootings, February 14, 2008;

The Skagit County shootings, September 2, 2008;

The Covina shootings, December 24, 2008;

The Geneva County shootings, March 10, 2009;

The Carthage Nursing Home shootings, March 29, 2009;

The New York immigration center shootings, April 3, 2009;

The Pittsburgh police officer shootings, April 4, 2009;

The Collier County shootings, August 4, 2009;

The Fort Hood shootings, November 5, 2009;

The ABB plant shootings, January 7, 2010;

The Appomattox shootings, January 19-20, 2010;
The University of Alabama, Huntsville shootings, February 12, 2010;

The Delisle shootings, April 14, 2010;

The Hartford Beer Distributors shootings, August 3 2010;

The Safeway shootings, January 8, 2011;

The Grand Rapids shootings, July 7, 2011;

The Copley Township shootings, August 7, 2011;

The IHOP shootings, September 6, 2011;

The Seal Beach shootings, October 12, 2011;

The Southern California Edison shootings, December 16, 2011;

The Chardon High School shootings, February 27, 2012;

The Oikos University shootings, April 2, 2012;

The Seattle cafe shootings, May 30, 2012;

The Aurora shootings, July 20, 2012;

The Sikh temple shootings, August 5, 2012;

The College Station shootings, August 13, 2012;

The Empire State Building shootings, August 24, 2012;

The Accent Signage System shootings, September 27, 2012;

The Azana Spa shootings, October 21, 2012;

The Clackamas Town Center shootings, December 11, 2012;

The Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, December 14, 2012;

The Webster shootings, December 24, 2012;

The South Valley shootings, January 19, 2013;

The Orange, Los Angeles and Riverside Counties shootings, February 3-12, 2013;

The Santa Monica shootings, June 7, 2013;

The Hialea shootings, July 26, 2013;

The Ross Township Municipal Building shootings, August 5, 2013;

The Washington Navy Yard shooting, September 16, 2013;

The Los Angeles International Airport shootings, November 1, 2013;

The Fort Hood shootings, April 2, 2014;

The Overland Park Jewish Community Center shootings, April 13, 2014;

The Isla Vista shootings, May 23, 2014;

The Harris County shootings, July 9, 2014;

The Marysville Pilchuck High School shootings, October 24, 2014;

The Rosemary Anderson High School shootings, December 12, 2014;

The Montgomery County shootings, December 15, 2014;

The Tyrone shootings, February 26, 2015;

The Waco shootings, May 17, 2015;

The Charleston Church shootings, June 17, 2015;

The Chattanooga shootings, July 16, 2015;

The Lafayette shootings, July 23, 2015;

The Harris County shootings, August 8, 2015;

The Umpqua Community College shootings, October 1, 2015;

The Black Lives Matter protest shootings, November 23, 2015;

The Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shootings, November 29, 2015;

The San Bernardino shootings, December 2, 2015;

The Kalamazoo shootings, February 20, 2016;

The Hesston shootings, February 25, 2016;

The Kansas City shootings, March 7-8, 2016;

The Wilkinsburg shootings, March 9, 2016;

The Pike County shootings, April 21-22, 2016;

The Maryland shootings, May 5-6, 2016;

The Orlando nightclub shootings, June 12, 2016;

The Dallas police officer shootings, July 7, 2016;

The St Joseph Courthouse shootings, July 11, 2016;

The Baton Rouge police officer shootings, July 17, 2016;

The Mukilteo shootings, July 30, 2016;

The Citronelle shootings, August 20, 2016;

The Cascade Mall shootings, September 23, 2016;

The Townville Elementary School shootings, September 28, 2016;

The Fort Lauderdale Airport shootings, January 6, 2017;

The Schofield/Rothschild shootings, March 22, 2017;

The Cincinnati nightclub shootings, March 22, 2017;

The North Park Elementary School shootings, April 10, 2017;

The Fresno shootings, April 13-18, 2017;

The Kirkersville shootings, May 12, 2017;

The Lincoln County shootings, May 27, 2017;

The Orlando factory shootings, June 5, 2017;

The Sandy shootings, June 6, 2017;

The Eaton Township Weis Market shootings, June 8, 2017;

The Congressional baseball shootings, June 14, 2017;

The San Francisco UPS shootings, June 14, 2017;

The Bronx-Lebanon Hospital shootings, June 30, 2017;

The Little Rock nightclub shootings, July 1, 2017;

The Clovis Library shootings, August 28, 2017;

The Plano shootings, September 10, 2017;

The Burnette Chapel shootings, September 24, 2017;

The Las Vegas shootings, October 1, 2017;

The Sutherland Springs Church shootings, November 5, 2017;

The Rancho Tehama Reserve shootings, November 13, 2017;

The Aztec High School shootings, December 7, 2017;

The Copper Canyon Apartment Homes shootings, December 31, 2017;

The Marshall County High School shootings, January 23, 2018;

The Melcroft shootings, January 28, 2018;

The Stoneman Douglas High School shootings, February 14, 2018;

The Yountville shootings, March 9, 2018;

The YouTube headquarters shootings, April 3, 2018;

The Nashville Waffle House shootings, April 22, 2018;

The Santa Fe High School shootings, May 18, 2018;

The Scottsdale spree shootings, May 30-June 4, 2018;

The Art all Night shootings, June 17, 2018;

The Capital Gazette shootings, June 28, 2018;

The Jacksonville Landing shootings, August 26, 2018;

The Fifth Third Center shootings, September 6, 2018;

The Aberdeen shootings, September 20, 2018;

The Florence shootings, October 3, 2018;

The Pittsburgh synagogue shootings, October 27, 2018;

The Tallahassee shootings, November 2, 2018;

The Thousand Oaks shootings, November 7, 2018;

The Robbins shootings, November 11, 2018;

The Mercy Hospital shootings, November 19, 2018;

The Sebring shootings, January 23, 2019;

The Louisiana shootings, January 26, 2019;

The Pecan Park shootings, January 28, 2019;

The Aurora, Illinois shootings, February 15, 2019;

The Poway synagogue shootings, Apt27, 2019;

The UNCC shootings, April 30, 2019;

The STEM School Highland Ranch shootings, May 7, 2019;

The Virginia Beach shootings, May 31, 2019;

The Gilroy Garlic Festival shootings, July 29, 2019;

The Cielo Vista Mall shootings, August 3, 2019;

The Dayton shootings, August 4, 2019;

And the uncounted number of individuals of all ages, creeds, color, or political viewpoints  killed or injured in criminal shootings, negligent shootings, and accidental shootings (and/or any other category you care to name).

In my opinion, the rest of us haven’t the right to offer thoughts and prayers unless we have actively done something, anything, constructive to prevent this continuing slaughter.  My conclusion is based on the undeniable fact that the offering of thoughts and prayers by anyone not on this list, especially by members of the United States Congress, has become a cynical excuse to do nothing about gun violence, while appearing to care about those who have suffered.  At the very least, members of Congress seem to care only about themselves and their personal treasuries, and the hypocrisy of their public offerings of concern does not suit the dignity of their assumed offices.

WARNING: This piece will no doubt be outdated before a month lapses from its original date of publication.  The author asks that the reader perform his or her own updates as it took him forever and a morning to type and enter the above list.

About Gavin Stevens

Humptulips County is the wholly fictional on-line residence of Stephen Ellis, a would-be writer, an avid fan of William Faulkner and his Yoknapatawpha County, and a retired lawyer.
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