'Thoughts and prayers' not enough in wake of mass shooting in San Bernardino, gun control advocates say

Daily News cover sparks backlash

It didn't take long for the latest mass shooting to expose America's bitter ideological divide over gun control.

In the wake of the massacre in San Bernardino, Calif., politicians tweeted their thoughts and prayers for the victims, their families, and the community.

But the New York Daily News pushed back with a provocative front page condemning yet another brush with American gun violence, mocking the responses of several Republican presidential candidates. The headline: "God Isn't Fixing This."

Front page of the New York Daily News, Dec. 3, 2015. (Daily News)

"As latest batch of innocent Americans are left lying in pools of blood," the paper wrote, "cowards who could truly end gun scourge continue to hide behind meaningless platitudes."

Paul, for his part, fired back.


"This cover on the New York Daily News is a deplorable example of the media putting their political agenda over the suffering of victims and their families," Paul said in a statement posted to his campaign's website. "The genuine thoughts and prayers offered to victims in need are not political fodder."

The cover, posted to the Daily News Twitter feed Wednesday night, sparked a Twitter hashtag #thoughtsandprayers, which was filled with both pro- and anti-gun sentiment.

In October, following the deadly shootings at a community college in Roseburg, Ore., President Barack Obama, said "thoughts and prayers are not enough."

"It's not enough," an angry Obama said. "It does not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel. And it does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted someplace else in America."

Following Wednesday's mass shooting, Obama was less forceful in his tone.

"Obviously, our hearts go out to the victims and the families," Obama said in an interview with CBS News shortly after the shootings. "The one thing we do know is that we have a pattern now of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere else in the world, and there's some steps we could take, not to eliminate every one of these mass shootings, but to improve the odds that they don't happen as frequently — common sense gun safety laws, stronger background checks."

Wednesday's massacre in San Bernardino — where 14 people were killed and 17 others wounded — was the deadliest mass shooting in the United States since 26 people were slain at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., nearly three years ago. But it wasn't America's only mass shooting on Wednesday.

Early Wednesday, a gunman opened fire in Savannah, Ga., killing one person and injuring three others, Mashable reported. Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Chief Jack Lumpkin described the assault as "group violence," and said police are seeking at least two suspects who remain at large.

And according to the New York Times, shootings that have left four or more people dead or injured have occurred in the United States on 209 days so far this year.

The top two candidates on the Democratic side blasted America's gun culture.

Hillary Clinton was in Florida speaking about reforming America's gun laws when the shooting occurred.

Connecticut Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy weighed in, too.

Igor Volsky, contributing editor for political website Think Progress, pointed out that many of the lawmakers expressing their "thoughts and prayers" had received thousands of dollars from the National Rifle Association.

Volsky's editor offered a different approach.


But others accused those mocking the GOP responses of "prayer shaming."

"You know, I was so disturbed by that [Daily News] cover," Elisabeth Hasselbeck said on "Fox & Friends" Thursday. "If you want to line up with terrorists and try to take God away, you're not on the right side."

“The Daily News' front page is not, in any way, shape or form, condemning prayer or religion," Jim Rich, the paper's editor-in-chief, said in a statement. "Anyone suggesting otherwise is either — intentionally or unintentionally — misconstruing the point, which is that most GOP politicians have offered nothing but empty platitudes and angry rhetoric in response to the ongoing plague of gun violence in our country.”