Steve Patterson: Reflections on thoughts and prayers and other trite euphemisms 

NEMiss.News some things call for a casserole



“…little children let us not love in word and speech, but in deed and truth.” 

–1 John 3:18


Some things call for casseroles.


I like words. Words are powerful. Words can give comfort. Words can cause pain. Words are indeed powerful and should be employed with utmost caution. When times dictate that we express our love for one another, words can be soothing and pleasant but not an acceptable substitute for loving, constructive action. Action conceived in truth, action dedicated to real needs, action that makes any problem slightly better speaks with hopeful volume.

NEMiss.News Steve Patterson and CHhicken

Steve Patterson and his beloved companion birddog, Chicken

Actually, it is a pretty simple concept used in Southern culture with great effect for many generations. Every Southern church lady understands that the action of making a cake or a pie or, especially, a casserole and delivering it to a grieving or sick family in need speaks louder than all the words in Mr. Webster’s book. We have always known that speaking words alone, no matter how sincere or eloquent, and then doing nothing, is not enough. Without action, words are of little benefit.

In recent days, we have heard a lot of empty, yet sincere, words. Our thoughts and prayers are indeed with all those impacted by the senseless killing of innocent little children and folks everywhere. Our attention has been especially drawn to the horrific slaughter of innocence in Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

We ask, “Why?” Over and over again we ask “Why?” Why were 19 precious little fourth grade children and two devoted heroic teachers slaughtered? Why? Why? What words can be said? Are there any powerful enough to ease the suffering, the fear, the hopelessness?

What actions would best demonstrate our love for one another? Words continue to fail us. We need a few casseroles!

Some say we need more mental health awareness. Most agree we need better access to mental health resources.  I agree. So why not bake a casserole filled with adequate dollars for mental health delivery and deliver it to the American people? Well, Democrats in Congress and in state houses tried that approach, and Republicans either blocked the bills or vetoed the bills in states with Republican Governors.

Others say we must improve architecture to make public places more secure and safer for use and enjoyment.  I agree.   Most folks, in fact, agree. Well, once again Democrats in state after state have offered this solution, but the casserole never gets cooked because of Republican obstructionists.

Many say guns are the problem. I say guns are definitely one of the problems. Folks, let’s face the facts and start telling the truth. We have a gun problem in this country! I’ve been around guns my entire life. I received a single barrel twenty-gauge Winchester shot gun on my tenth birthday. And before that, I was fairly proficient with BB guns and pellet rifles. Many a medicine bottle and fruit jar met their demise at my hand.

Over the years I’ve owned countless shotguns and hunting rifles made by manufacturers all around the world. I dare say I’ve shot more quail with a side -by-side double barrel fox shotgun than most anyone reading this article. I’ve hunted ducks, geese, deer, turkey, elk, and quail in 11 different states. I know a fair amount about guns. Especially hunting guns.

I also know I have no need or desire to ever own a gun that is designed solely to kill and maim people by the dozens in seconds. Those should be reserved for the military, law enforcement, and a “well regulated militia,” namely the national guard, as mentioned in the Second Amendment of the Constitution!

We need to bake a casserole that removes access to weapons of mass destruction from the recipe. Democrats, namely Joe Biden and Bill Clinton, did this in the 1990’s, and gun violence dropped by a whopping 47 percent, and rose again upon repeal by a startling 246 percent.

Alas, Republicans, who are bought and paid for by the NRA, once again were obstructionist and refused to renew the ban when it came up. Banning assault weapons should be the first layer of our lovingly baked casserole.

The second carefully prepared layer should be the love-adorned healthy, sensible ingredient of red flag laws that allow law enforcement to remove guns from anyone’s hands that families, churches, counselors, trained professionals, or law enforcement itself views as either a threat to society or to themselves.

Of course, none of this can be permissible without due process standards.

And, finally, our lovingly prepared casserole should contain the wholesome, easily digested ingredient of universal background checks. We require drivers licenses and drivers tests to drive an automobile; shouldn’t at lease the same standard be applied to owning and presumably operating a deadly weapon? Who among us really wants to keep violent criminals and crazed folks armed?  We require fishing licenses to go fishing, and that’s a good policy, but for God’s sake, isn’t licensing gun ownership equally as important? The casserole will never be lovingly delivered to a grieving America until the obstructionists, the oppressors have a change of heart.

So, I have a proposal. Let’s all unite in a loving spirt and send our thoughts and prayers to the do-nothing Republican obstructionists. Let us pray that they will loose themselves from the corrupt dollars of the gun lobby and have a change of heart that allows America to address a big problem with a lovingly baked casserole filled with good ole common sense.

Irma Garcia and Eva Mireles were the two teachers murdered by a mentally ill 18 year-old child using a military style assault weapon last week in Texas. They were killed desperately trying to protect 19 little fourth grade students. According to the New York Times, Mrs. Garcia was eventually found by officers “embracing children in her arms pretty much until her last breath.” Visions of that horrific scene are clear in my imagination and can never be unseen again. What if my Grandson were in that room? Or yours? No greater horror can be imagined. What Mrs. Garcia was doing is what others that knew her expected of her. She was protecting her Kids to the very end.

Only two days later, Mrs. Garcia’s husband John Garcia died of a broken heart, after a memorial service for his beloved wife. The couple is survived by four children ranging in age from 13 to 23.

It’s easy to pray for the Garcia family and the Mireles family, too. These two teachers were angels before the shooting and now have beautiful protective wings in heaven. Angels are easy to pray for, but do they really need our prayers? I don’t know, but it makes more sense to me to pray for those still with us who need it most. Those who need just an ounce of these angels’ courage to find divine inspiration to act.

America is a great country because we are problem solvers. Gun violence is indeed a problem that needs solving. There is a casserole filled with common sense solutions waiting to be prepared, and the American people eagerly await its delivery.

If young Afghan little girls can pray for their Taliban oppressors, if Church families in Charleston South Carolina can forgive and pray for a white supremacist that murdered their loved ones, we can surely pray for the Republican obstructionists to solve this problem.

Nineteen precious little souls needlessly perished in Uvalde, Texas. Which one of these angels could have saved the world? I say every single one had that potential. But we will never know, will we?

Angels don’t need my thoughts and prayers. Those among us who allow this carnage to continue do. From this day forward, dear Republican obstructionists, my thoughts and prayers are with you – we need a solution-filled casserole!

A Columbine survivor speaks out, encourages action over words: 


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