Southerland Springs

Lawmakers Still Sending Thoughts and Prayers, Despite Criticism
Outcry over expressions of sympathy symptom of deadlock on guns

A small memorial near the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Wednesday, three days after a gunman killed more than two dozen people during a Sunday service. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Criticism of lawmakers who send “thoughts and prayers” to victims of mass shootings has attracted a lot of attention in the media. But it doesn’t appear to have caused many on Capitol Hill to find something else to say.

Roll Call reviewed statements by lawmakers after Sunday’s mass shooting during a church service in Sutherland Springs, Texas, which left 26 people, including an unborn child, dead, authorities said. The analysis found that dozens of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle reverted to some form of the expression, sparking an increasingly familiar backlash from gun control advocates and other critics who said the words have become meaningless in light of congressional inaction.