After a 28-year-old killed three children and three adults at Nashville Covenant School, members in the community and across the U.S. offered their “thoughts and prayers,” receiving criticism. Referencing criticism, the director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) said prayer is an appropriate response to atrocities.
At a press conference, TBI Director David Rausch praised people who believe prayer is necessary after a massacre.
“Again, I want to echo what chief has said in reference to the great support and the great teamwork that has been taking place here, as well as sending our heartfelt prayers to the families, to this community of these victims,” Rausch said.
“Now, I know there’ll be people who want to criticize us for prayers. But that’s the way we do that in the South, right? We believe in prayer and we believe in the power of prayer. And so, our prayers go out to these families,” he added.
TBI Director David Rausch: "Now I know there will be people who want to criticize us for prayers, but that’s the way we do that in the south, right. We believe in prayer and we believe in the power of prayer, and so our prayers go out to these families." pic.twitter.com/hSUxIukLLT
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) March 27, 2023
Gun control advocates argue that “thoughts and prayers” do nothing to prevent massacres. Following the Tennessee school shooting, Twitter users criticized people who called for prayer.
David Pakman, a progressive talk show host, mocked people who prayed for the victims of the school shooting.
“Very surprising that there would be a mass shooting at a Christian school, given that lack of prayer is often blamed for these horrible events. Is it possible they weren’t praying enough, or correctly, despite being a Christian school?” Pakman wrote on Twitter in a later deleted post.
Pakman tried to renounce his statement, saying that he was not mocking people of faith but instead mocking Republicans who send “thoughts and prayers” and “do nothing” to prevent gun violence.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) offered her “thoughts and prayers” to the students’ families at the Nashville school. She called the shooter, Audrey Hale, a biological woman who identified as male, “mentally deranged.”
My prayers are with the victims and families at the Covenant School in Nashville. Another absolutely horrific needless tragedy.
Children and school staff should always be protected the same way politicians, money, precious stones, and gold are protected, but even more so, by…
— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene🇺🇸 (@RepMTG) March 27, 2023
In response, Meena Harris, niece to Vice President Kamala Harris, accused Greene of promoting “transphobia.”
There’s a special place in hell for people like Marjorie Taylor Greene who use children being murdered as an opportunity to promote transphobia
— Meena Harris (@meena) March 28, 2023
Mervyn Warren, a film composer, argued that the prayers from the students’ families at the Christian school did not work to keep them safe.
“And the people at that Christian school in Nashville prayed that their children would be safe. How did that work out? Your mother-in-law was healed by doctors and nurses who went to school for years. Not by prayer,” Warren said in a Twitter post.
Rather than denouncing people of faith over their prayers, individuals should criticize the Biden administration and Congress for providing Ukraine billions of dollars in its war against Russia instead of directing funding to secure schools.