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.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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