When I read the news about the shooting in Orlando, which took the lives of over 50 people, I felt the same sick and helpless feeling that I felt after Newtown, San Bernardino, and the seemingly endless news of school shootings, movie theater shootings and domestic assaults. I read about every person that was killed in the club that night and I was about to do my usual head in the sand burying when I saw this quote from President Obama. “We have to decide if that’s the kind of country we want to be. And to actively do nothing is a decision as well.”
It is easy to think that we are helpless during times like these, that the NRA is too big and powerful. That terrorists will find a way to kill Americans with or without stronger gun laws. But that is not a good enough reason to ignore what is happening here. Even if my actions mean nothing, the fact that I am trying will mean everything.
Whenever things feel out of control or I feel helpless I think about when I was moving for the first time. I was completely overwhelmed and my mother said, “just start with a drawer.” Just do one thing, a little at a time, and you will feel more in control.
Here are some “just one things” that we can do after Orlando.
- Support groups that are working to fight the NRA like Everytown. And my support I mean, give them money.
- Call your representatives. Both of our Senators in Kentucky voted against gun control laws in 2015. They probably will again, especially if no one tells them that these laws do have support in red states.
- Focus on one thing. For me, it is the AR-15 rifle. This is the gun that killed 50 people in Orlando, 20 children in Newtown, 12 people in a movie theater in Colorado, and 14 people in San Bernardino. After the Newtown shooting, sales for the AR-15 skyrocketed and there is an estimated 3 million guns in circulation today. Most types of this gun were banned in 1994 but the ban expired in 2004 thanks to lobbying by the NRA.
My first instinct when something terrible and violent happens is to turn off the tv and forget about it. But I’m glad I didn’t this time. I’m glad I saw President Obama’s quote and I have my drawer to start with. I feel sad, I feed horrified, but I also feel ready to fight back.