Most Shared

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.

Anyone who has gone through the process of disentangling themselves from an addiction knows it's an ongoing, daily battle. It may get easier, and the payoffs may become more apparent, but it's still a decision someone makes each day to stay detached from their substance of choice.

Seeing someone who has a long record of sobriety—especially after a very public struggle—can be motivating and inspiring for others in different stages of their recovery journey. That's part of why actor Rob Lowe's announcement that he's reached 31 years sober is definitely something to celebrate.

"Today I have 31 years drug and alcohol free," Lowe wrote on Twitter. "I want to give thanks to everyone walking this path with me, and welcome anyone thinking about joining us; the free and the happy. And a big hug to my family for putting up with me!! Xoxo"

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

Keep Reading Show less