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Thoughts & Prayers are Just Played OUT! By Dr. Tawnya Pettiford-Wates

I’m Just Sayin’- Dr. t’s Column 5/18/2022

This past weekend there were numerous deaths in America. Very few of these deaths were due to “natural causes” because even though we know that death is inevitable, and we will all face it someday, we cannot continue to deny that what we are facing right now as a community and as a nation is a malignancy of enormous consequence. Losing our loved ones at any time is difficult and the grief can literally take our breath away. But having our loved ones gunned down in mass shootings as they go to their places of education and learning, business, travel, entertainment, and leisure, as they go to places of worship or as they shop for groceries on a Saturday afternoon is a horrifically tragic and gross outcome of the American cultural landscape. The under belly of the “American Psyche.” White supremacy and racism are so embedded within the foundational principles of this nation that when we protest racism or challenge white supremacy and white supremacist dogma, people think we are protesting “America” itself. Misguided and distorted thinking has allowed this nation to continue to proclaim things like “Never Again,” “We are praying for the victims and their families,” “This is Not Who we are!” and, ”We need sensible gun control.” Denial of our malignant psychosis cannot continue, and thoughts and prayers as we DO nothing is just played out!

Repeatedly people cry out the aforementioned “well wishes”, slogans, and posted memes and STILL we continue to allow the carnage to go unaddressed without any viable strategy to change course. Nothing has been done to create any significant impact or viable difference in the persistent epidemic of gun violence in this country or the continuing growth of white supremacy and domestic terrorism. Over the last several decades mass shootings have continued to create a uniquely “American” public health crisis. It must be stated that no other nation in the world manufactures as many guns as we do. No other nation in the world has as many guns in the hands of the mass population as the United States of America. In no other civilized nation are weapons of war designed for mass killing and destruction sold to “regular” people with no military training. No wonder our streets, venues and public spaces are routinely filled with the blood and bodies of innocent people just trying to live their lives as “regular” Americans making the attempt to claim the “dream” of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

When you live in a country that makes claims of freedom, equality, and justice for All people, you must also embrace the idea of sacrifice and compromise as a strategy to make freedom and liberty equitable for ALL Americans and not just a few. You must be willing to give up some of your individual “rights” and freedoms to peaceably live together as a whole nation. You must be willing to modify, compromise, and make amendments to laws and decrees that declared enslaved people 3/5ths of a person in the US Constitution, or having “no rights that a white man is bound to respect” as declared by the United States Supreme Court in the Dred Scott Decision of 1857. Amendments to the Constitution attempted to redress these laws and decrees that clearly contradict the platitudes and foundational principles in the Declaration of Independence. The 2nd Amendment never could have imagined a time where ordinary citizens with unfettered access to weapons of war and mass destruction would be running around murdering innocent people because of the color of their skin, who they choose to love, or what God they choose to worship. The 2nd Amendment needs to be rewritten.

This country is dysfunctional. America’s “character” is embedded in a schizophrenic-type psychosis. Many Americans, predominantly white Americans, and those with an extreme conservative tendency, would love to return to a world where women and Black people “know their place” and Mexicans stay in Mexico, and other black and brown immigrants stay wherever they are that’s not in the USA. They nostalgically gravitate towards a time when LGBTQI+ people remained invisible and straight white men just ran the world without any challenge, question, or accountability. Time is up for any of that! We are not going back to THAT! Thoughts and prayers are NOT enough! What else ya got???

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