Fuck ‘Thoughts and Prayers’

Andy Ostroy
2 min readMar 28

I’m an atheist. I don’t believe in God. I believe organized religion is the cause of history’s worst violence and persecution. That said, I have no problem with those who do believe in God, attend church or synagogue, and dedicate their lives to a higher power (extra points for those who actually practice what they preach). So while religion is not for me, I accept that it is for many others.

But I draw the line at the relentless and infuriating “thoughts and prayers” deflection spewed before, during and after every single horrific mass-shooting by hypocritical pro-life conservatives and people of faith. Let’s be clear: thoughts and prayers do not work. They don’t save lives. And they certainly don’t save young school children from having their bloodied massacred insides splayed all over their classroom floors.

We know this because gun violence in America has risen to epidemic proportions. There’s been 130 mass-shootings so far this year alone. And we sadly witnessed this violence yet again this week with the mass-shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville, TN where three 9-year-olds and three staff members were murdered.

Unfathomably, the leading cause of children’s death in this country now is not cancer or car accidents. It’s gun violence. Upwards of 3600 children died by gunfire last year in America. That’s unconscionable. What’s even more astounding is that death by guns ranks no higher than 5th in other industrialized nations.

The pious pro-lifers cannot and will not be taken seriously when they are fanatically obsessed with the lives of the unborn child but give zero fucks about the millions of terrified living children who go to school each day traumatized by the prospect of being slaughtered by a demonic maniac with an AR-15.

To be sure, gun violence is raging out of control. But the answer is not “more guns”. Nor is it “more good guys with guns”, as we’ve learned from the Uvalde shooting last year where hundreds of cops stood idly by for 45 minutes while a monster massacred 19 children and 2 adults.

What’s desperately needed is more regulation. More laws. And accountability. This includes assault rifle and high-capacity magazine bans; expanded background checks; raising the purchase age to 21; longer waiting periods; enacting Red Flag and safe storage laws; holding gun makers accountable; making parents liable; and increased mental health resources.

So with all due respect, fuck thoughts and prayers. It’s time for serious legislation, not God.

Andy Ostroy

Director, producer, podcaster, writer, resistor, non-profit-supporter of women filmmakers