Thoughts and Prayers Aren’t Enough
I had a post ready to publish for today, but sharing about my goals for the month hours after yet another deadly shooting in our country felt like white noise. While this isn’t a political blog, this is an issue that impacts all of us. These thoughts are heavy on my heart and I’d be remiss if I didn’t use what influence I have with this space to say something. I’ve seen lots of posts on social media today from well-intentioned people sending their thoughts and prayers to everyone affected by the Las Vegas shooting. It happens after every tragedy, but I’m calling a spade a spade. That’s a start, but it is well beyond time for action. Thoughts and prayers aren’t enough. If that offends you, I’m not sorry. We have to do more.
I still vividly remember watching events unfold in the aftermath of the Columbine High School shootings. I was in high school at the time, horrified such a thing could happen. In fact, it almost did happen at my high school months later. Fortunately, someone saw the gun in my classmate’s backpack and reported it before he could do anything. Yet, in 1999, a mass shooting was an anomaly. But now, it’s almost commonplace: Las Vegas, Orlando, Sandy Hook, and the list goes on and on. Today is the 275th day of 2017 and Las Vegas was the 273rd mass shooting of the year. Our press secretary says “now is not the time to talk about gun control.” I wholeheartedly disagree. Today, more than ever, is the time not to just talk, but take action.
We must use our voices and speak up, loud and clear. Let the powers that be in Washington DC know that we’ve had enough and that it’s time for change. Here’s some tangible ways you can take action today:
I think the most urgent priority is to contact your elected officials and encourage them to do more in the areas of gun laws and mental health. If you don’t know who those people are, look them up here. If you feel like your one voice won’t make a difference, I understand. But, the power of our collective voices is strong.
If you don’t know what to talk about when you call, there are two pro-gun bills in the Hose that could pass this week. One of the bills would roll back restrictions on gun silencers, amongst other concerns. This story from a Virginia Tech survivor is a prime example of why silencers should not be legal. The other bill would “allow people to carry concealed weapons in any state if it is allowed in the state where they live.”
If you feel intimidated about the thought of calling, I understand. It is perfectly acceptable to write a script of what you want to say. To make it feel even easier, call after business hours and leave a voicemail. If you’re not comfortable calling, use Reistbot to deliver messages or send an email.
Here are some great tips on how to be heard by your elected officials. Although the piece is targeted to college students, it is useful to us all.
On a broader scale, you can donate blood. Obviously, it won’t directly help in Las Vegas, but it can make a difference in your area. I also encourage everyone to go through training in CPR/AED/first aid so you can help others in an emergency. You can find a RedCross class in your area. I completed the training as part of my personal training requirements and it’s really easy! Most of the work is online along with a couple hour in person class.
While the events in Las Vegas are rightfully at the forefront of our minds, there are still other places in need. The first that comes to mind is Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria left the country in shambles. Huffington Post compiled a list of places you can donate. Personally, I donated to this specific GoFundMe effort started by a friend of a friend.
If you have other thoughts on how to use your voice, please leave a comment! I would love to hear your thoughts.