I’m late on the uptake, not because I haven’t been mourning with the nation but because I didn’t take my laptop on vacation, and it’s hard to write a long post with links from a cellphone. So here we are… I’m not gonna say much about the tragedy. It’s already been said so much better than I ever could. I am, however, going to offer you something you can do beyond posting support on Facebook and mourning the loss of these vibrant lives (and I want to be clear that I’m not mocking either approach – sometimes people desperately need to know you’re with them and that’s something valuable you can provide via Facebook).
But, more action is clearly needed.
At the bottom of my San Bernardino post is a handy guide on how to contact elected officials, including a template letter if you don’t want to spend the time crafting one of your own. I recommend you don’t just stick with your congressperson… try House and Senate leadership as well, and your state representatives. When I did this after the San Bernardino shooting, it took me about 1/2 hour to email everyone I could get an email address or online “contact” form for. Time well spent. https://caseykins.com/2015/12/03/upset-write-about-it/
Before you write, I also recommend this site: http://whoismyvoice.com/. Put in your address and it will tell you if your elected representatives took campaign contributions from the NRA. You can write them about that when you’re writing them about acting on gun control.
I also want to highly recommend Americans For Responsible Solutions, http://americansforresponsiblesolutions.org/. It’s a non-profit founded by Gabby Giffords (the Congresswoman who was shot in the head in Arizona). Both Gabby and her spouse Mark are gun owners and have been for their entire lives. They’re working toward ending needless gun violence without taking away the rights of responsible Americans to own guns (mostly advocating closing gun loopholes of all kinds and funding research into causes of gun violence so we can make smart laws/choices in the future). Although they could probably use a few bucks if you can spare it, they also have a petition on their website that you can sign for free.
That’s all, folks. I’ll be posting happier stuff later this week, but I just wanted to get this off my chest. Your elected officials really do care what you have to say about a subject. This and voting are the best ways you can exercise your rights in a democracy.
Besides, I find it helps me more to be doing something, however small, than to sit around and think about how much I wish this didn’t happen.