A supercut of Obama's response to mass shootings shows just how routine this has become.

Mass shootings have become routine, and, sadly, so have our responses to them.

"Thoughts and prayers" are offered up, but few solutions follow. In the wake of the attacks that claimed 2,977 lives on 9/11, our political leaders sprung into action, passing the PATRIOT Act, creating the Department of Homeland Security, and entering what now seems to be unending war.

In 2014, there were 12,569 gun deaths in the U.S. alone. Yet we can't seem to come to a consensus on even the smallest of changes to our lax gun laws. And after the San Bernardino, California, shooting, it seems again unlikely that anything will change.


The flag at the White House is lowered to half-staff after the San Bernardino shooting. Photo by Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images.

Nowhere is this frustration more apparent than in President Obama's changing responses to mass shootings.

Refinery29 put together a supercut of Obama's responses to mass shootings.

The 10 statements included in the video range from April 2009's mass shooting in Binghamton, New York (where 13 people were killed), to last week's attack on a Colorado Planned Parenthood (where three people were killed).

President Obama reacts to the October 2015 shooting at a community college in Oregon. GIFs from the White House.

With each address to the nation, the president's emotions have visibly shifted, trending toward helplessness.

His early responses were filled with shock and sadness. Then came a call to action, asking the country to unite as it did during past tragedies.

After the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. GIF from Refinery29.

And finally, frustration — a sentiment many Americans agree with.

President Obama seems beside himself in responding to the Planned Parenthood shootings. GIF from Refinery29.

His frustration is not for a lack of trying. The president keeps proposing solutions, but Congress isn't acting.

Following the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, the president put forward a plan to reduce gun violence while keeping Americans' Second Amendment rights intact. The plan was centered on closing background check loopholes, banning "military-style assault weapons," and boosting mental health resources around the country.

In April 2013, the Senate voted down what seemed to be the most common-sense reform: shoring up the "gun show loophole." It failed, despite the fact that 81% of Americans favored universal background checks — and since then, that number has risen to 88%.

Frustration washes over the president in reaction to the Oregon shooting. GIF from Refinery29.

Most recently, the president asked Congress to bar people on the terrorist watch list/no-fly list from purchasing guns.

Surely, that's something they can agree on, right? Preventing those suspected of terrorism from owning guns and committing terrorist acts seems like a slam dunk. But Congress isn't budging, and without their action, there's little President Obama can actually accomplish.

It would be nice if instead of just flatly blocking even the most common-sense gun control measures, members of Congress could put forward a plan more detailed than "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families." Because again...

Action needs to happen. Tell your Congress member that thoughts, prayers, and words are not enough.

But wait, what did the president have to say about the San Bernardino shooting? Not much.

This is partly due to the fact that new information about the shooting, the shooters, and possible motives hasn't come to light just yet. But it also seems like it comes down to a question of how many times one man can give variations on the same speech, making the same pleas. There's not really anything new the president could add, so he kept comments extremely short.

"The one thing we do know is that we have a pattern of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere in the world," President Obama told CBS News' Savannah Guthrie.


"There are steps we can take to make Americans safer. We should come together in a bipartisan basis at every level of government to make [mass shootings] rare as opposed to normal," he added.

You can watch Refinery29's supercut below.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

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Dr. David McPhee offers advice for talking to someone living in a different time in their head.

Few things are more difficult than watching a loved one's grip on reality slipping away. Dementia can be brutal for families and caregivers, and knowing how to handle the various stages can be tricky to figure out.

The Alzheimer's Association offers tips for communicating in the early, middle and late stages of the disease, as dementia manifests differently as the disease progresses. The Family Caregiver Alliance also offers advice for talking to someone with various forms and phases of dementia. Some communication tips deal with confusion, agitation and other challenging behaviors that can come along with losing one's memory, and those tips are incredibly important. But what about when the person is seemingly living in a different time, immersed in their memories of the past, unaware of what has happened since then?

Psychologist David McPhee shared some advice with a person on Quora who asked, "How do I answer my dad with dementia when he talks about his mom and dad being alive? Do I go along with it or tell him they have passed away?"

McPhee wrote:

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When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!