"Thoughts & Prayers" Tweets About Las Vegas Are Getting Backlash, Here's What To Know

by Tessa Harvey

In the wake of last night's mass shooting on Sunday, Oct. 1, at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada — where, according to The New York Times, more than 50 people are said to be dead — people around the country are heartbroken. Taking to Twitter, users are voicing their sympathies, questions, and fears. In particular, some are sharing their "thoughts and prayers" tweets about Las Vegas that are getting backlash from other users.

UPDATE: Authorities confirm at least 58 people died and 515 were injured in the shooting. The shooter has been identified as a Nevada local, he was fatally shot, and this is not believed to be connected to terrorism.

EARLIER: From major celebrities such as Mandy Moore and Ryan Seacrest to politicians such as Barack and Michelle Obama and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to everyday people, onlookers are tweeting out their thoughts and prayers. "Thoughts and prayers" are meant to be all encompassing; a show of support, of love, of solidarity, and of a heart also broken by the cruelty of what is now the nation's most deadly mass shooting in its history. It's an instinctual reaction in a time of such horror. But on this occasion, not all users are in agreement about the use of "thoughts and prayers" — and the backlash is unusual.

In response to tweets of thoughts and prayers, people have something to say this time, and it's not quiet. Those advocating a movement away from "thoughts and prayers" have a different idea of what should be done in this moment, and it's not tweeting condolences. Instead, users are pushing for action.

"We need legislation. We need action," @cmclymer writes. "We need you to do your damn jobs."

This Twitter user isn't alone in their sentiments. Among the #LasVegas, #Prayfortheworld, and #MandalayBay tweets lie another hashtag: #GunControlNOW. Users are calling for legislators and those in the public eye to look at the horrifying event as the last straw in the decades-long U.S. gun control debate. While thoughts and prayers are appreciated, there is a call for more to be done.

Some Twitter users say that while thoughts and prayers hold good intentions in times of crisis, they have not proved successful in preventing tragic events.

Thoughts and prayers "are not enough," says one user. Among the backlash are more users calling for those in power to step away from "thoughts and prayers" and toward action to prevent such tragedies from occurring.

With the total number dead beyond 50, last night's Las Vegas tragedy marks the shooting as the worst in our national history, according to USA Today.

Twitter users want to know when enough is enough. "How many more to have #GunControlNOW debate?" asks @jacob4kids.

The social media gun control debate isn't just among average Twitter users; politicians like Hillary Clinton have followed suit, echoing the need to take preventative measures.

It's not unsurprising for a shooting — particularly considering how common they have become — to reignite the gun control debate. But like most debates, there are many sides to the discussion. Some social media users say that thoughts and prayers are not the answer to the tragedy unfolding before us and that the resulting blame will also do nothing.

But for those who feel unable to help, thoughts and prayers seem to be all they have to offer. Across the world, people are watching — not many of whom have legislative power and means to offer support.

"It's what I can do at the current time," writes @kianxdolan.

It's true that not all have resources or power available to make changes and solutions to ensure this never happens again. Instead, Twitter users have urged those with "thoughts and prayers" towards a different outlet — donating to organizations that advocate for gun violence prevention.

"Donating to," writes @bethelgardener. While some Twitter users among the backlash comment on the gun control impasse, in combination with "thoughts and prayers" language, others push for further action:

There are many ways for you to help if you want to take some action, including donating blood and money and reaching out to your representative in Congress.