Columbine Survivor Shares Message for Those Who Say ‘Thoughts and Prayers’ Are Useless

One man who was a sophomore at Columbine High School when shots first rang out in 1999 is pushing back after some have claimed that “thoughts and prayers don’t mean anything.”

Evan Todd, who was shot in the back when the two student gunmen first burst into the Colorado school library, revealed to Faithwire this week the pivotal role prayers played in his recovery after the shooting nearly 19 years ago.

“Thoughts and prayers after Columbine was something that literally helped me through those tough times,” he said. “Knowing that … there are people who are thinking about you and praying for you is empowering and motivating and uplifting.”

There was so much “death and destruction,” Todd explained, and prayers helped bring the community together:

“And [prayers] do a lot for society, too, because it shows empathy. You’re thinking about more than yourself. … It shows that human life does have value and when we lose it, it is heartbreaking and it is a tough time for people.”

Anger over “thoughts and prayers” garnered renewed attention after a 19-year-old gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in mid-February, killing 17 people.

In the aftermath of the shooting, survivors like Delaney Tarr, 17, have called out the National Rifle Association, saying, “Enough of thoughts and prayers.” Likewise, Dick’s Sporting Goods decided — for the second time — to remove “assault-style” guns from its shelves because “thoughts and prayers” aren’t “enough.”

Todd said it’s important moving forward to eliminate gun-free zones and allow teachers to carry firearms — a suggestion President Donald Trump has endorsed. While the idea has been rebuffed by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he’s open to discussing the idea.

“I understand there are teachers who do not want to be armed, and that’s perfectly fine. There obviously shouldn’t be anyone forced to be armed,” Todd said. “But on the same token, there should be no one who is forced to be disarmed.”

Arming teachers, Todd argued, would lead to quicker reaction times if and when a gunman enters the premises and “would also be a [demotivating] factor for people to not go into these places that are completely and utterly disarmed.”

Over the weekend, the Florida state Senate voted in favor of arming teachers.

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