John Andrist: By the Math, Kindness Is Winning


Texas Governor Greg Abbott hugs a resident at a vigil for the mass shooting victims outside the post office in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Nov. 5, 2017. A gunman wearing all black and a ballistic vest killed at least 26 people and injured at least 20 more at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. (Todd Heisler/The New York Times)

Do the math!

There was a lone gunman who entered a small Texas church a couple Sundays ago, creating carnage.

That same day there were approximately 351,000 churches open for business.

If you were one of those attending church, and you smiled at someone, shook a hand, gave a hug, or said a prayer you can be certain there were at least 351,000 others that did the same.
There could never be a church service in which at least one attendee did not express kindness. Right?

One vs. 351,000, and yet millions of wringing hands in the wake of those Texas murders are lamenting that we have lost our kindness. Give me a break. We have goodness in epidemic proportions in this old world.

Sure, there still is evil. That just demonstrates we have much work to do. If we didn’t we wouldn’t need those 351,000 churches.

The only important question to ponder is, “Did I help?” “Did I hinder?” or, “Did I just sit this one out?”

It is reliably estimated about one in five Americans attend church or a religious service each week.

So my (admittedly) fuzzy math says for every evil person there are 350,000 good ones and perhaps 1.5 million other Americans that are ambivalent at the very worst.

The greatest tragedy is not lack of goodness. It’s ambivalence.

Words count

I often counter my daughter’s liberal arguments by pointing out that some good things have happened with the ascension of Donald Trump.

And just as often she fires back, “but words matter dad.”

She is absolutely correct. They do matter. My personal tool for handling my thoughts about our new president is to avoid as much as possible listening to anything he says, writes, or tweets.

It too often is bad, bad, bad.

But in response to the carnage of that deranged Texas murderer, Trump said “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families of today’s horrible and murderous attack.”

That sounded pretty safe, but it wasn’t safe enough for Trump’s over the top far left detractors.

“The murdered victims were in a church. If prayers did anything they’d still be alive, you worthless sack of (expletive)” came a return message to the president from actor Will Wheaton.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren jumped to her podium and said, “Thoughts and prayers are not enough. People are dying while you wait . . . If you are a Republican praying instead of passing gun control you’ve got blood on your hands.”

Or, Keith Olbermann: “Thoughts and prayers again@realDonald Trump, idiot”.

A headline in The Huffington Post: “People Fed up with Thoughts and Prayers Demand Action.”

Excuse me! Isn’t disdain for prayer the same emotion that shooter was expressing as he murdered 28 church goers?

Somebody should tell these guys they are on the same side. Both agree prayer is not the answer.

Losing money how?

Minnesota once had a practice of allowing cities to operate municipal liquor stores as business monopolies.

The concept was borne of a time when socialism had more friendly ears, particularly strong support from such institutions as the Farmers Union and the Nonpartisan League.

But I read a report last week that says most of the small western Minnesota towns still operate those stores, even if they can’t make a profit.

Only a few zealots still don’t realize socialism simply doesn’t work.

But the word hasn’t gotten to small town Minnesotans. A report Sunday revealed 40 percent of these towns consistently lose money on their municipal liquor stores.

Which really seems strange to me. If I were an alderman in a city willing to tax its people to keep a business from folding, the last one I would classify as a public necessity would be a liquor store.