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You can pray until you faint,

but unless you get up and try to do something,

God is not going to put it in your lap.”

-Fannie Lou Hammer-  


               Presidents, preachers, politicians and other people offered their “thoughts and prayers” after domestic terrorists reigned death and destruction in Boston, Charleston, Chattanooga, Colorado Springs, Fort Hood, Isla Vista, Newtown, Orlando, Sandy Hook, and Washington D.C. 

After the latest human slaughter, Americans flood social media platforms with “thoughts and prayers.”  Slogans are created such as “Boston Strong.”  Opportunists earn profits by selling paraphernalia bearing the slogans. 

In different venues, people pause for a few moments to sing “Amazing Grace” as well as offer “thoughts and prayers” and therein lies another tragedy, i.e., [1] the pausing for only a few moments to reflect, to offer “thoughts and prayers” but [2] not following up with timely actions that would significantly reduce home grown terrorism such as that displayed by a wealthy White male in Las Vegas.   

In no way being irreverent, what is advocated herein is that, when it comes to significantly reducing domestic terrorism and other gun violence, we must also heed the above advice of Fannie Lou Hammer.   Moreover, we cannot be pacified by those who say, “Now is not the time to discuss gun control” as was stated by his spokesperson when POTUS 45 made plans for a “supportive visit” to Las Vegas.  On the contrary, now is the time to listen to and follow up on the advice of the following political leaders:

  •  “To my colleagues: your cowardice to act cannot be whitewashed by thoughts and prayers…  None of this ends unless we do something to stop it." (Sen. Chris Murphy of D-Connecticut)
  • "We need to stop the carnage. More talk and prayers will not save lives. Only action and real changes in our laws can." (Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland”
  • "When you have weapons of war in wide circulation, you get war-like casualty counts. Not what the Founders had in mind." (Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon)
  • "Congress should take up and vote on legislation to ban military-style weapons." (Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pennsylvania).” (By Ashley KilloughJim Sciutto and Miranda Green, CNN

Updated 9:29 PM ET, Mon October 2, 2017).

When it comes to taking steps to reduce domestic terrorism and gun violence in general, we have poignant proof that “common sense” is not “common.”   Instead, sound judgment has taken a sabbatical in the presence of the prevailing politics and profit motives.  The “Beast,” the multi-billion dollar gun industry, must be fed and its feeding is facilitated by the Trojan Horses known as the “right to own” and the “right to carry.”  

Even if we acknowledge the “right to own” and the “right to carry,” “common sense” indicates that no citizen should have the “right to own” much less “carry” a weapon which, in a matter of minutes, can be used to fire 700 rounds; kill nearly 60 people; and wound 560.   No one of sound mind, unless under undue influence, can argue that the writers of the Constitution envisioned individual citizens having the “right to carry and own” [1] M72 Light Anti-Armor, [2] MK19 Grenade Machine Guns, [3] Enhanced Sniper Rifles, or [4] the plethora of guns the domestic terrorist used recently in Las Vegas.  In terms of what the Constitutional writers might have envisioned, please note that when the Revolutionary War was fought, the most frequently used weapon was the Brown Bess, a slow to load musket that was, at best, equivalent to a shotgun!

Other than those who wish to make a profit from doing so, it is in the realm of the absurd to advocate for the “right to own” modern military weapons and, in general, oppose local gun control ordinances.  Witness, for example, Pennsylvania where there are ongoing efforts to pass a state law that would permit the National Rifle Association to sue Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Lancaster regarding their protective gun laws.  In sum, we cannot be lulled to sleep by the offering of “thoughts and prayers without follow up action or by the misuse of the “right to own” and “right to carry.”   

The failure to enact gun legislation with all deliberate speed is reminiscent of the failure to address the opioid crisis in a timely fashion, to not do so until opioid abuse became an equal opportunity destroyer.  When the gun violence “chickens come home to roost,” so many lives will have been lost that future generations will look back and wonder, how could they have failed to act in appropriate ways and in a timely fashion?   How could Las Vegas [1] be in a state where a gun buyer neither needs to be licensed nor registered; [2] be the planned host of the largest gun show in the world sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation; and yet [3] the city issued no outcry when the Foundation merely offered their “thoughts and prayers” and declared that the gun show will take place as planned?   


Since there is power in prayer, perhaps now is the time for righteous people to pray for a powerful deliverance from domestic terrorists, e.g., the kind of deliverance that brought the Israelites out of slavery; the deliverance that got the apostles out of Jerusalem jails where they faced death; the kind of prayers King David uttered when he faced the most wicked enemies.  Maybe it is time for those imprecatory prayers such as that found in Psalms 69:23-28. 
(23) Let their eyes be darkened, so that they cannot see, and make their loins tremble continually.
(24) Pour out your indignation upon them, and let your burning anger overtake them.
(25) May their camp be a desolation; let no one dwell in their tents…
(27) Add to them punishment upon punishment; may they have no acquittal from you.
(28) Let them be blotted out of the book of the living; let them not be enrolled among the righteous.

After praying, we must make it clear to our elected city, state and national representatives that we demand legal steps to prevent citizens from owning weapons that enable domestic terrorists to kill and wound so many people in so few minutes.   At the moment, we must do all we can to prevent passage of the “Hearing Protection Act” which would permit silencers on firearms.  Just imagine what would have transpired if those in Las Vegas had not heard the shots! 


Jack L. Daniel

Co-founder, Freed Panther Society

Pittsburgh Urban Media Contributor

October 4, 2017



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