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A Sandy Hook mom's emotional response to Las Vegas puts mass shootings in context.

Nelba Márquez-Greene lost her daughter nearly five years ago.

A Sandy Hook mom's emotional response to Las Vegas puts mass shootings in context.

Nelba Márquez-Greene knows what it's like to lose a loved one in a mass shooting. On Dec. 14, 2012, her 6-year-old daughter Ana Márquez-Greene was shot and killed during the Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.

Ever since, Márquez-Greene and her husband, Jimmy Greene, have been tireless advocates for gun safety. They've called on Congress to take action to mitigate future mass shootings — only to have their concerns brushed off. Time and again, they've watched Congress stand idly by each time a mass shooting took place.


Jimmy Greene and Nelba Márquez-Greene at a news conference in 2013. Photo by Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images.

Waking up to news of the Las Vegas shooting that left at least 50 dead and hundreds injured, Márquez-Greene shared on Twitter what the families of the victims are going through.

Nearing the fifth anniversary of her daughter's murder, Márquez-Greene gave her followers a glimpse into what the worst day of her life was like. There is nothing that prepares you to lose a loved one in such a senseless (yet preventable) act of brutality. Márquez-Greene's words help put the entire ordeal in context for the rest of us.

"I don't know what to say besides this is on every congressperson who said in '13: There is simply nothing we could do," she tweeted. "You don’t recover from this — as a mother, brother, father. You manage. But there is no recovery. I am heartbroken."

"Today you got 50+ new reasons I take a knee. My heart, my prayers, my ACTIONS are with the victim families."

She slammed Congress for "the level of trauma" citizens are forced to endure in the wake of a mass shooting, when legislators fail to enact laws that would protect citizens from gun violence.

"As a mom who had to bury a child — I could care less about perp color. But how come we never talk about angry White men w/guns?" she chided. "How come we only want to talk when it fits our own narrative?"

"Help mothers keep children safe from gunviolence," she pleaded, calling out people who allow the shooter's skin color or religious beliefs to be the determining factor in whether or not they decide to take action — as well as those who prioritize "fake acts of patriotism over people, pain & real acts of courage."

"I just don't want any more moms to live like I do," she said, calling attention to the kind of gun violence we don't talk nearly enough about: the everyday shooting deaths that happen all around the country.

"I know so many mothers navigating this world of grief and trauma blindly because their kids died in urban centers & there is no sympathy," she tweeted. "Gun violence and grief hurt in EVERY zip code. In every color. Grieving mothers need your help."

Perhaps the most powerful message, however, was the final tweet of the group, which showed 6-year-old Ana, full of life, cheerfully singing along at a piano, along with a message for Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for Senate in Alabama: "As a final thought & reminder to @MooreSenate & congress, this is the little girl u said I should’ve prayed 'harder' for."

Every time there's a mass shooting and Congress chooses not to act, they dishonor all the victims who have come before.

Senator Chris Murphy (Democrat-Connecticut) was a member of the House of Representatives when the Sandy Hook shooting occurred, representing Newtown. He's been one of the biggest proponents of gun safety measures in years' past, even once speaking for nearly 15 hours on the Senate floor to push for action.

Following the Las Vegas shooting, his office released a statement. It reads, in part:

"This must stop. It is positively infuriating that my colleagues in Congress are so afraid of the gun industry that they pretend there aren't public policy responses to this epidemic. There are, and the thoughts and prayers of politicians are cruelly hollow if they are paired with continued legislative indifference. It's time for Congress to get off its ass and do something."

For grieving parents like Márquez-Green, for victims like little Ana, and for all of us who deserve to live in a country free from fear of being gunned down in a mass shooting, let's hope they do.

Jimmy Greene and Nelba Márquez-Greene embrace after a news conference in 2013. Photo by Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images.

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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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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