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.

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Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

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