I am saddened by the events that took place Sunday night. I am appalled that I have to write this today but this is something that has been weighing on my heart. I was originally going to write about how all of this is our fault, but at this point, the anger has subsided and I am left with nothing but grief. Grief for the ones who have died. Grief for the family members that lost loved ones. Grief for this country as another tragedy has struck. So instead of blaming groups of people and spreading hatred, I want to share hope and to do that I’m going to list things that you can do to help in a time like this.
- A simple way to help after any devastation such as this one is to donate blood. This isn’t controversial and it’s something that is quick and easy and everyone can be involved (except for homosexual men, but that’s an issue for another time). No matter where you are, go to a nearby blood drive or go to a hospital and donate blood. They all connect to each other and help get the blood everywhere, so no matter where you are, you can help by doing this small act if it’s safe for you to do so. Disclaimer: not everyone is physically able to give blood so if you have any hesitation about it, talk to your doctor first, of course.
- Warning: this one is controversial but it’s something I strongly believe in. Contact your representatives and tell them you want stricter gun laws. The guns he used were bought in multiple different states and none of them, so far, were actually automatic weapons when he bought them. He bought these guns legally and he bought the parts to make the guns act like an automatic legally too. This needs to change. The only way we can change this in the face of everything and everyone pushing against us is by voicing the need for change to the people who are in the power positions. Call your local reps. Call your senators. Call Trump himself if you want/have to. Make it known that you are not okay with the gun laws that are currently in place that would allow a man such as the shooter to obtain these weapons LEGALLY.
- If you are religious, pray for the injured and the family members of the deceased. While this can be seen as controversial as well, if you have faith make sure to keep these people in your prayers. Keep our country in your prayers too as we are going to need all the help we can get to stop events like this from happening as often as they do.
- Get involved in your communities. Everyone has a voice, use yours to help people and not to belittle or divide. Start peaceful protests for things you find important. Join organizations that could benefit others in your community as well as the nation. We need as many people as possible to join together and make this world a better place. Become one of those people.
- Start a conversation about mental illness in your community. While I don’t believe the shooter should be humanized by saying he was mentally ill or anything of that nature, it is true that anyone who would kill 58 people, injure 500+, and then go on to kill themselves was in need of help. We need to start more conversations about mental illnesses. That won’t stop gun violence. That won’t stop the evil in the world from continuing to be what it is. But it could, in fact, start spreading a movement that could help a lot of people and maybe one day make an impact on the amount of mass killings that happen in America every year.
- Lastly, spread love in everything you do. You may not be a political person, and that’s fine, but at least be a good person. Don’t spread hate and lies. Don’t be part of the problem. Be kind and open to change. Be loving. You never know how a single compliment or smile could brighten someone’s day and help them get through a bad situation. Spread that. Spread love. Spread joy. Spread life.
To end this I just want to say a few things. There will be a lot of you that don’t agree with some of the things I have to say in this post. There will also be a lot that agree wholeheartedly. I just want to say thank you for taking the time to read it anyway. Whether you agree or disagree I hope you realize that I just want to spread hope and love to everyone and give everyone the chance to use the voice they already have. At the beginning of this writing I was angry and I didn’t think I would ever have the right words to talk about this devastation but I hope that while they may not be perfect, the words I have found (at like 1am) are uplifting in a time of despair.
Hug your families a little bit tighter tonight and spread life everywhere you go. ~ Nicole W.