Last night I tucked my hearts into bed. I sang them songs and we said our nightly blessing. I spent a really long time just looking at them and touching them and kissing them until they became annoyed with me. I stepped away from all electronics yesterday because my urge was to play with and just be with my children. And for yesterday, for me, it was all I could do. It was how I could help. But that was yesterday. And now here I am, they are still sleeping this morning and I need to write out my heart. Now I need to talk about what we can do. How can we heal? How can we stop this from happening ever again? And why haven't we figured this out yet?
I've written about this before. Because yesterday is not the first day that children have been killed in their schools. And it takes my breath away to say it out loud, but it won't be the last.
Friends, it won't be the last. So what do we do? How do we stop the next mass killing? If we knew that we would have done it, right?
The White House issued a statement yesterday along the lines of "today isn't the day to talk about gun control" and while I have deep respect for our President and rallied for him all year to be re-elected, I disagree. Strongly. To me, it is the exact right time to talk about what can be done to prevent babies from being killed in their schools by raging lunitics. Don't get me wrong, I'm not syaing that gun control will fix everything. There are factors and factors and more factors and questions and answers and what ifs and strategies and policies and basic human unpredicatability all sitting at the table on this one. But at the head of that table sits a mentally ill person with weapons. Specifically guns. And that guy, is the guy that walked into Sandy Hook school yesterday and into the movie theater in Aurora and onto the Virginia Tech campus and in that MacDonalds in California and that cafeteria in Texas and into Columbine High School and the NY imigration office. And on and on and on. We have to start with THAT GUY because he is the problem.
So we have to talk about guns. We just have to. We need to put aside our bullshit positions on the far left and far right and meet at the table. We have to make the representatives of our government sit down at the freaking table. What kind of people are we that we see these things happening over and over again but resign oursleves to not talking about guns because well, wait, what are the reasons?
We have to start. And we have to start because we have all had enough.
I'm not saying it's possible to end violence, although I have some ideas on that too, but I am saying that we can end children being murdered in their schools. We start by opening our front door and stepping out. We start by picking up the phone and calling our senators and representatives in Congress. We start by reaching out and connecting with people who are hurting. We start by genuinely giving a shit about our neighbors and their kids. We start by being present enough in our own life to be present in the lives of others too. We start by demanding the government to hear us. We start by supporting agencies that reach out to the sick and mentally ill.
We start with these things and then we don't STOP. That is the key. We are angry now. We are horrified and sick to our stomachs over what happened yesterday. We are tearful and raw and we want to DO something. But we cannot stop doing them. We cannot forget to keep working the problem even when the news cycle has moved on.
So here are some ideas. Places to start. Places to place your energy or your money. I have contacted my representatives through email. I will call them today. I will also use this blog regularly to discuss and advocate that we never leave the table. Instead of gifts for me and the husband, we will be giving money to organizations that can help. That's what I have so far for us.
Now what about you?
Below there are agencies that need your money or your time or your influence. There are people to call and letters to write. There are things to do. We can change lives and heal broken hearts. And while none of us are big enough to do it alone, we are big enough to change one life. We can help. And we are big enough to spur our government into action. No more sitting back. We cannot sit back anymore.
Let's change the world. One person at a time.
Kindness, time, money and hands. Give them in all the ways that you can to other people. Here are some places to start....
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
NAMI needs your money and time. They will be able to help you find a local mental health organization to volunteer or donate to.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
Volunteer your influence, money and time in person or online.
Great site to get started on volunteering your time either in person or online for community building, anti-bullying, health and safety, poverty and child welfare.
*Boys and Girls Club of America
*HopeMob is an online fund raising site. They have started raising money for the families of those killed. They are respected and well organized. This is just one site doing this. Choose one and give money if you can.
*Your local mental health agencies to find out where they need help. They will be able to identify a volunteer position for you. Be it an art program for at risk youth, making hot meals or childcare for support group meetings etc. They will be able to find you somewhere to help because they need you. They also need your money.
*Your local school district to find out where they need help and help them for free.
*Your local police. Ask them what programs they need help with. Police stations often have programs that help the homeless, hungry and mentally ill. They might need you to lend a hand.
And then call or write your representatives in government. Not just today and this week. But regularly. Tell them that this is a priority. This is more important. This is ALWAYS the day to talk about these things. You can find who represents you here.