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A viral video about one gun owner's response to Parkland comes with a powerful message.

Scott Pappalardo of Middleton, New York, has always loved guns, but now he's having a change of heart.

A viral video about one gun owner's response to Parkland comes with a powerful message.

Scott Pappalardo loves guns and his right to own them so much that he has the Second Amendment tattooed on his body — but now he's having a a change of heart.

In a video, now seen more than 17 million times, New York-based Pappalardo discusses why he felt a moral responsibility to get rid of his AR-15, a gun he's had for more than 30 years. He talks about how after the Sandy Hook massacre, he would have gladly traded in his weapon if it meant saving even one life and how the lack of action taken by both himself and the government made him feel as though like he needed to do something — now.

GIFs via Scott-Dani Pappalardo/Facebook.


"I guess my words [after Sandy Hook] were just empty words in the spur of the moment and now here we are, 17 more lives lost," he says, referencing the recent Florida school massacre.

He decided to not only get rid of his AR-15, but to ensure that it could never be used to take someone's life.

"I’ve decided today, I’m going to make sure this weapon will never be able to take a life. The barrel of this gun will never be pointed at someone. I mean, think about it. Is the right to own this weapon more important than someone’s life?" he says before taking a power saw to the gun, effectively destroying it.

Sure, he could have probably gotten $600 to $800, he estimates, for his gun. It's even likely the buyer would have been a responsible gun owner, like he was. Still, there was the off chance that his weapon could find its way into the hands of a child or someone set on committing a crime, and he didn't want to have that on his conscience.

Pappalardo captioned the video, "My drop in a very large bucket #oneless."

My drop in a very large bucket#oneless

Posted by Scott-Dani Pappalardo on Saturday, February 17, 2018

Others, like Ben Dickmann, were also inspired to take their weapons out of circulation and did that in a number of ways.

Dickmann documented his decision to surrender his AR-57 to the Broward County Sheriff on Facebook, saying, "I'm putting my money where my mouth is." The day earlier, in a separate Facebook post, he called on others to take similar action.

"No one without a law enforcement badge needs this rifle," he continues. "This rifle is not a 'tool' I have use for. A tool, by definition makes a job/work easier. Any 'job' i can think of legally needing doing can be done better by a different firearm. I enjoyed shooting this rifle immensely but I don’t need it, I have other types I can shoot for the same enjoyment. I have surrendered this rifle to the Broward Sheriff at the Tamarac Post. I could have easily sold this rifle, but no person needs this. I will be the change I want to see in this world. If our law makers will continue to close their eyes and open their wallets, I will lead by example."

I’m putting my money where my mouth is (from yesterday’s FB post). This is an AR-FiveSeven, I own this rifle. It’s a...

Posted by Ben Dickmann on Friday, February 16, 2018

These actions may be, as Pappalardo says, just a "drop in a very large bucket," but it's a start. Taking guns out of circulation helps prevent them from falling into the wrong hands.

There are hundreds of millions of guns across the country. Of course it's not realistic to suggest that each and every one be confiscated and eliminated. What's realistic asking people — the good, responsible gun owners — what possible use they have for AR-style semiautomatic weapons. Both Dickmann and Pappalardo admit the guns are really fun to fire, but it's worth examining what the actual practical uses of these weapons are.

Good on Dickmann and Pappalardo for making decisions they feel personally comfortable with, and hopefully they'll help inspire others to reflect on their own gun collections.

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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