11 people killed in Virginia Beach mass shooting, several others injured. 'Thoughts and prayers' are not enough.



A mass-shooting in Virginia Beach has left 11 people dead and many other injured. According to the Washington Post, a longtime municipal employee opened fire in a public works building before being killed by police who exchanged gunfire with the assailant.


One officer is among the wounded. Police Chief Kames A. Cervera said that his life was saved by his protective vest as he was hit by the gunman who "fired indiscriminately" throughout the building. "This is the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach." said Mayor Bobby Dyer.


As our own writer Annie Reneau eloquently stated less than one month ago:

I am a person of faith, but I am done with our first and only response to mass shootings being to think about and pray for victims. Thoughts and prayers are a given, not a solution.

I'm done with lone wolf after lone wolf after lone wolf—the majority of which actually have some striking commonalities—terrorizing my country because we refuse to take any serious steps to prevent the easiest means of mass murder.

I'm done with blaming mental health when every other country in the world has mentally unstable people and nowhere near our number of mass shootings.


Now, with yet another mass shooting on the books, it's time to shift away from "thoughts and prayers" and lean into common sense action.

After the Parkland shooting, one site put together a list of 30 concrete examples of things we can all do now to support sensible gun control and put an end to mindless, and yes, systemic, gun violence. That was followed by another guide to sensible gun control solutions that gained immediately popularity but is in continual need of greater attention. Here are 10 of the best solutions, but you can read all of them here.

  1. DONATE TO A GUN REFORM (GVP) GROUP. It's sad but true - money talks.
  2. CALL YOUR MEMBER OF CONGRESS.
  3. JOIN A LOCAL GUN REFORM GROUP
  4. DONATE TO POLITICIANS, WHO ADVOCATE FOR COMMONSENSE GUN REFORMS (See #1)
  5. SHOP WITH AMAZON? MAKE SURE THAT YOU SIGN UP FOR AMAZON SMILE AND DONATE TO A GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION (GVP) ORGANIZATION
  6. IF YOU HAVE GUNS IN THE HOME, LEARN ABOUT PREVENTING CHILD ACCESS TO GUNS IN THE HOME
  7. ASK YOUR LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS ABOUT THEIR GUN POLICIES AND DEMAND THAT THEY PUBLISH THEM
  8. OIN A CAMPAIGN TO GET COMPANIES TO BAN GUNS IN THEIR STORES
  9. SPEAK AT YOUR HOUSE OF WORSHIP OR COMMUNITY GROUP ABOUT GUN REFORM
  10. PLEDGE TO SUPPORT ONLY CANDIDATES WHO WILL FIGHT TO REDUCE GUN VIOLENCE

We can't stop gun violence overnight but we can change our cultural approach to guns and gun violence very quickly. Politicians and corporations follow the lead of the people, for better and for worse. Sending a message through our voices, and our wallets, that we demand sensible change now is the surest way to create a cultural wave that protects all Americans and puts our nation's First Amendment back on top of the interests of those who seemingly only think about our Second Amendment.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less