|These are the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High|
School shooting. Let's honor them with ACTION!
This post has been brewing inside of me for more than a week. I have thought about it, researched it, and debated even writing it. Basically, I've been in turmoil over it for days. Just as I've been in turmoil over what happened in Parkland, Florida.
I started having anxiety attacks again last week. Not as bad as back in December, but there, nevertheless. I couldn't figure out why. We were experiencing some minor distresses in our family, kids having issues and such, but nothing that seemed to warrant severe spikes in anxiety. It took me a few days to connect the dots to the school shooting in Florida. It was when my kids got home from school one day and I felt myself relax that I realized that I was kind of terrified to have them away from me. I just wanted them close.
Though many of us may disagree on what needs to change following yet another horrific mass shooting, I have to believe that we are all shocked and appalled and at least a little bit scared by what happened...and the fact that it keeps happening again and again. We all must be feeling sympathy and empathy for the victims and their families and friends, and for the survivors and all they've gone through. An anxiety trigger for me is putting myself in the shoes of the victims' parents...what must it be like to find out that your baby was shot and killed at school. My body aches with despair for these parents. For all of those affected by the shootings.
Can we all agree that it's a horrible, horrible thing...that it is a tragedy?
And can we all agree that things must be done, things must change, to prevent more mass shootings from happening?
I happen to believe that common sense gun reform is a must in this country. I believe that it is the key to stopping these kinds of shootings and massively reducing gun violence in this country.
You may not believe that. And while I don't understand it, I do respect your right to your opinion. What do you think is the issue? What do you think is the key to stopping these shootings? Is it mental health reform? Is it education reform? Is it a reconnection with God? Is it parenting education? Is it the disconnection caused by the deluge of video games and smartphones and social media?
Whatever you think the key is to this problem, it is time to fight for the good.
Enough is enough.
This is a call to action for EVERYBODY!
If you believe that the issue is mental health reform, then get involved in pushing legislation at the state and federal level for reform. You can start by checking out the National Alliance on Mental Illness: https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Public-Policy/Mental-Health-Reform and the American Psychiatric Association: https://www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/advocacy/federal-affairs/comprehensive-mental-health-reform. Google mental health reform for more information and take action.
If you believe that education reform is the answer, then do your research and determine what you believe the best course of action is, and get to it. Start locally. Join the parent-teacher organization at your kids' school, join the school board, lobby local and state government for change. You might start gathering information here: https://www.usnews.com/topics/subjects/education-reform.
If you believe a reconnection with God is the key, then become a youth leader at your church. Start a support group for kids in your area where they can safely explore religion and expand their relationship with their higher power. Find a place where you can be the light, the change you wish to see in the world, and shine.
If you believe it's all about parenting, then volunteer to teach parenting classes at schools or local organizations, or start a parenting support group; volunteer in a mentorship program to be a positive role model for kids who may not otherwise have one. Check out mentoring.org or Big Brothers Big Sisters at bbbs.org.
If you believe it's video games and smart phones and social media that's to blame, then get out there and make change happen. Get some information to start with here: https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/children-and-media-tips-for-parents.aspx, here: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/media/Pages/default.aspx, and here: http://www.medialit.org/reading-room/what-parents-can-do-about-media-violence.
If you believe that common sense gun reform is the key, then I ask that you to get involved at some level in making that happen. Join Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America or Everytown for Gun Safety. Call/email/tweet your senators and congressional representatives (You can find their contact info here: govtrack.us/congress/members) and ask where they stand on tighter gun control and let them know that you'll only support candidates willing to take a stand on this issue. Make public who's taking money from the NRA. (You can find that info here: www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/nra-donations) Lobby your state representatives. Go to a rally. Show your support for others who are trying to affect change.
And I ask that you ALL, please study all of the various components of possible gun reform, and see if there are some that you agree with. If so, support those changes. For example, you might support better background checks and limiting the size of gun magazines, but not limiting open carry. Fine. Support the components that you do see as positive change, instead of blanketly saying you're against all gun reform.
Whatever you believe to be the key to this problem, PLEASE do something to affect positive change. Don't just sit around sharing nasty memes on Facebook. I vowed to myself that I would not attack those who are against gun reform in this post. If you haven't been convinced by all of the data out there that gun reform is needed in this country, then my little blog post isn't going to convince you. So instead of getting dirty in that fight, I'd rather we all find a positive way to make a difference. The truth is, I think positive change is needed in all of the areas I noted above. ALL. OF. THEM.
So go fight the good fight. Make a difference. Move us toward a better place...a world in which mass shootings do not happen.
Enough is enough, friends. And enough should have been a long time ago.
Until next time, please take action toward POSITIVE CHANGE.
If you're interested in learning more about gun sense organizations, here are some links for you:
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America is a grassroots movement of American mothers, similar to Mother's Against Drunk Driving, fighting for public safety measures that respect the Second Amendment and protect people from gun violence. It's a nonpartisan group looking to do things like close loopholes in background checks that allow felons and domestic abusers to easily access guns; support reasonable limits on where, when and how loaded guns are carried and used in public; and promote gun safety. You can find out more here: momsdemandaction.org, and here: facebook.com/MomsDemandAction.
Everytown for Gun Safety is the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country and has teamed up with Moms Demand Action. You can find out more here: everytown.org
Sandy Hook Promise. The organization's current focus is on limiting the size of gun magazines. You can sign a petition for this cause here: action.sandyhookpromise.org. You can learn more about the organization here: sandyhookpromise.org.
BeSmartforKids is a program that promotes gun safety. The SMART acronym stands for Secure all guns in your home and vehicles; Model responsible behavior around guns; Ask about the presence of unsecured guns in other homes; Recognize the risks of teen suicide; Tell your peers to be SMART. You can find out more here: BeSMartforKids.org.
If you are looking to effect change in gun policy: Join the above organizations. Then, please contact your senators and congressmen both at the state and federal levels. Call them. Write them emails and letters. Tweet them. Let them know where you stand and what you expect from them.
If you live in PA reach out to Senator Pat Toomey. He's taken $39,363 from the NRA. You can reach him at 202-224-4254; toomey.senate.gov; @SenToomey. If you happen to live in my district, reach out to our congressman, Representative Charlie Dent. He's taken $28,850 from he NRA. You can reach him at 202-225-6411; dent.house.gov; @RepCharlieDent.
Right now, in PA, we're trying to disarm dangerous domestic abusers with the state bill, SB501. Research it. If you agree with it, please email/call/tweet our 13 state senators to pass SB501. You can tweet this message: Disarm dangerous domestic abusers. #PassSB501 #ProtectPAFamilies. Here are some of the senators' email addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org. Here are some of their twitter accounts: @SenatorAlloway, @SenatorGordner, @WayneforSenate, @PASenatorGuy, @SenVulakovich, @SenLisaBoscola, @SenGreenleaf, @SenLisaBaker, @SenBartolotta.
Whatever you do, DO SOMETHING!