I’ve written and re-written this post continually throughout the past week. I scheduled it, then put it back into draft mode, at least 4 times. “Is this even my place to write about?” I debated. “Why would anyone care what little ‘ol me has to say about such a heavy topic?”
No words that I used seemed to be right to describe my thoughts about the massacre of the Las Vegas shooting.
Ultimately, what’s making me press “Go” on this are three very important things. First, the reality that in the wake of an unimaginable tragedy, there simply are no words that are quite right, so trying to grasp for ways to sum up emotions adequately is a fruitless pursuit. Second, the all too real feeling of hopelessness that has been wearing me like a blanket since last Monday. Third, the urge to do something about it already.
I imagine most of you are like me and are wearing that blanket, too.
I don’t tend to dabble in the political realm here, mainly because I aim to keep this a bright, light hearted place. I have my views, and my friends and family can attest that they’re pretty darn strong. And my views may not be yours, in which case I don’t want to be alienating, because I want this blog to be a place for everyone, despite their political stances. Like I said in this post, “I am proud that we live in a country where everyone has a voice, and try not to enter into the alienating nature of politics in this space because, when it comes down to it, we’re all just trying to stand for what we believe is best.”
And while I’m not about to turn this blog into one that addresses every heavy issue or topic – you have the news, and people who are far more intelligent than I who can do that for you – I don’t want to be tone deaf. I don’t want to just sit here posting fluff when there are very real issues happening that need addressing.
I’ve talked about my desire to be involved here before, and while I still struggle with finding the time to do so (don’t we all?), I have tried to consistently act when faced with opportunity. Speaking up on this blog is one way that I can do that. So, here we go.
That blanket I mentioned prior? It’s really heavy. I’m appalled, and simply can’t make sense of how someone could kill anyone, let alone many. I think of the poor children who lost parents, the parents who lost kids, friends who lost friends, and I just can’t fathom what they are going through right now. A week later, I’m sure it’s all just beginning to sink in that their loved ones aren’t coming back, and all at the expense of someone who just decided they wanted to kill. It’s sickening.
We’re all there, right? I’m not saying anything that you’re not feeling, I know, no matter what side of the gun control issue you’re on. It’s all too real, and it’s heartbreaking. And so we are saddened. We pray. We send thoughts and love and hope.
Here’s the thing, though. Prayers and thoughts are only beginning. Because, like Jimmy Kimmel said in his powerful speech, prayers don’t do anything. Mass shootings are out of control – check out this site to see it visually laid out. What is happening?! Every time, those watching from afar, including myself, send thoughts and prayers. And yet, nothing changes. I’m quite frankly sick of sitting here, sending thoughts and prayers.
About a year ago, I turned on the news to see that an old coworker and friend of mine was shot and killed in the alley behind his Chicago building. He was taking out the trash one morning. His killer was in desperate need of money, and his life was lost after a scuffle over his wallet. He had a young son, only one year old. He was such a great person. The kind that always struck up conversations about your weekend around the workplace coffee pot and was actually interested to hear your answer.
The loss of his life was senseless. The lives taken in Vegas were senseless. All lives taken at the expense of bullets are senseless.
I want a better world. I want it for my daughters. For your children. For all future children. For myself. For you. For all of us.So, where does one start? In my opinion, we all need to be well informed. I will be the first to admit that I wasn’t particularly well versed in the issue of gun control, and am still learning as I read and digest more.
It was actually fairly hard to find unbiased facts. I won’t summarize all of my findings for you, but I will present two articles for you to read, if you’re interested. The first is from the Harvard School of Public Health, which found that where there are more guns, there is more homicide. They found this to be true across high-income nations and US states alike. The second is from The Atlantic, which found that firearms deaths are significantly lower in states with stricter gun control legislation.
That said, I recognize this is a complicated issue. The right to bear arms is a huge foundational element of our culture. Those who are in favor of gun ownership argue that it’s necessary for self defense, and I’m not immune to the fact that in some instances guns do help save lives.
But, here’s what just doesn’t make sense to me. Why are bad people allowed to have such powerful weapons? What is the reason for anyone owning a semi-automatic weapon? Why are those who may be mentally ill allowed to legally own guns?
It’s complex, but I think when you really get down to what’s black and white about the topic, to me it becomes less about the right to own guns, and more about who we’re letting own them and the type of guns they’re legally allowed to obtain. If stricter gun control and laws could stop even one person who has ill intentions from acting, from killing others, isn’t it worth it?
Obviously, from the above, you know where I stand. I’m so sick that these instances are happening more and more, and personally feel that it’s time to act.
I don’t pretend to know all the answers. But I do know that doing something is the best place to start.
For those who are interested, I’ve provided a few easy ways to get involved. First, sign this petition from Change.org, which essentially stands for pushing Congress to vote on issues that will help with gun control regulations. Everytown is an organization that stands for gun safety and violence protection. They highlight 7 actions you can take to prevent gun violence, which is a very helpful overview if you don’t know where to start. Also, donate to this Go Fund Me page, which is raising money to support victims of the Las Vegas shooting.
One thing to additionally recognize is that there are plenty of places and ways to get involved, regardless of your stance on gun control. In fact, last year I blogged about a list of 12 amazing charities to donate to, which absolutely still stands true. (This reminds me…I should put out a round II of that post! There are so many others that I’ve been made aware of this year that deserve recognition.) If you’re interested in finding more organizations doing good, check out Togetherlist.
To end this (very) long post (which, by the way, thank you for reading), I’d like to summarize with this: May we all take a stand, and fight for what we believe in. Because change doesn’t happen by idly sitting on the sidelines.
Also, because it’s important to say, always remember that there are more good people than bad in the world. (This video brought all of the tears!) I’m a firm believer that good will always prevail.