clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

A Capital Gazette shooting survivor doesn’t want your thoughts and prayers

Reporter Selene San Felice wants you to vote.

The Capital Gazette’s front page the day after a shooter broke into its newsroom, killing five people.
The June 29, 2018, edition of the Capital Gazette appears in a newspaper vending box in Annapolis, Maryland.
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Selene San Felice, a survivor of the Capital Gazette shooting, will take your prayers, but she’d rather have you vote. In a powerful Sunday op-ed she wrote in the Capital Gazette, the reporter implored Americans to “do something” about the United States gun-violence epidemic — by starting with the midterm elections.

“If your help ends at thoughts and prayers, I don’t want them. What I want is action,” San Felice wrote. “We must do better. We must vote better. We must push for legislation so that this doesn’t feel normal.”

That means addressing the loopholes that allowed the shooter to legally purchase a pump-action shotgun that allegedly killed five people and injured two more, despite his history of a harassment conviction. Harassment isn’t one of the misdemeanors that bar a person from gun ownership.

“He was legally allowed to plot our deaths and trap us like fish in a barrel,” San Felice said, emphasizing that her concerns were nonpolitical.

San Felice did criticize President Donald Trump for his empty words and inaction, saying she “want[s] to know what he’s going to do to fix this.”

But she saved her strongest words for the American people:

“Stop brushing this off. Stop saying you’re going to pray for me. Pray for me, and then pass legislation that stops the mass murder of Americans,” San Felice said. “Pray for me, then vote for people who are serious about making a change. That starts with the general election in November.”

San Felice had previously gained attention for saying live on CNN that she “couldn’t give a fuck” about officials who sent their “thoughts and prayers” to the survivors of the shooting.

“I’ve heard that President Trump sent his prayers. I’m not trying to make this political, right? But we need more than prayers,” San Felice told CNN. “I appreciate the prayers. I was praying the entire time I was [hiding] under that desk. I want your prayers but I want something else.”

Vox’s German Lopez has explained America’s unique gun problem in depth. His grim conclusions: While state and local laws are important, federal action — which “probably needs to go further than anyone wants to admit” — is essential in order for solving America’s gun-violence epidemic. And though support for gun control is as widespread as San Felice and anti-gun violence activists attest, that doesn’t mean it’s an effective campaign issue or one that will be associated with legislative action anytime soon.