Brian McLaren Responds To Jacksonville Shooting: “More Than Thoughts And Prayers”

By Brian McLaren

As a Floridian and as an American, I share a sense of sadness and heartbreak with millions of Americans about the latest mass shooting.

They happen so often that it’s tempting to simply resign ourselves to the status quo. But if we are silent when yet another mass shooting happens, we help normalize the absurdity and preventability of these shootings.

And let’s make no mistake: these shootings are preventable. According to a recent report (, the US has had 57 times as many mass shootings as the other six G7 nations combined since 2009 (288+ compared to 5 total.)

The NRA and its weapons dealers make a lot of money selling ever more guns and ammunition. And the NRA’s political puppets are happy to suckle at the NRA’s money flow. But the rest of us experience loss after loss, tragedy after tragedy. That’s not fair and that’s not right.

So let’s make a commitment. Every time another shooting happens, lets name the politicians who take the most money from the NRA, starting with Richard Burr, Roy Blunt, Thom Tillis, Cory Gardner, and Marco Rubio in the Senate, and French Hill, Kenneth Buck, David Young, Mike Simpson, and Greg Gianforte in the House.

And let’s speak a simple message of truth to people in our social and social media circles: If we work together, we can change the values, politicians, and laws in our country, so that we can become a less violent culture and more respectful of life.

It begins with values, and that’s where our faith communities have a special role to play … not just “thoughts and prayers,” but an intentional and intense effort to inspire better values and teach a nonviolent way of life.

Brian D. McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, and public theologian. He is the author of The Great Spiritual Migration and an Auburn Senior Fellow

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