Dan Rather's gut-wrenching reaction to the Florida school shooting is a must-read.

From Watergrate to world wars, revered journalist Dan Rather has seen a lot of injustice in his day.

Still, certain senseless tragedies can strike a nerve. Wednesday saw one of those tragedies.

Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images.


A 19-year-old gunned down students and adults at his former high school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, 2018. Nikolas Cruz slaughtered at least 17 people in his killing spree, both inside and outside the building.

After the 18th school shooting this year alone, many baffled, heartbroken Americans are asking: How can this still be happening?

In a thoughtful yet gut-wrenching Facebook post, Rather reacted to the massacre in Florida both with emotion and with an appeal to reason.



"Sadness and despair — those were my first reactions," the 86-year-old journalist began. "But then, quickly, I am hopping mad."

"What happened in that Florida school today IS NOT OK," he continued. "THIS IS NOT NORMAL. Our children should be able to go to school and be SAFE."

Sadness and despair - those were my first reactions. But then, quickly, I am hopping mad. My urge is to use a much...

Posted by Dan Rather on Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Rather used an unlikely, eye-opening comparison to illustrate our inaction over gun violence: Ebola.

"Remember the national panic over Ebola? It ended up killing one person," Rather wrote:

"But there was a national consensus that we would do whatever it took to protect Americans. But when it comes to gun violence in schools, we just throw up our hands? Thoughts and prayers? Is that how we should have responded to threats like 9/11 as well?"

Students shed tears outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg/AFP/Getty Images.

Ebola, however, didn't have one of the most powerful lobbying groups enticing U.S. lawmakers to stay silent.

The National Rife Association (NRA) dumped roughly $50 million into the 2016 election campaigns of (mostly) Republican candidates who vowed to uphold — and even expand on — the U.S.'s lax gun control laws.

And the group's power is especially prevalent in Florida, where this shooting took place.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

The Sunshine State has "become a laboratory for generating new forms of gun protections," according to NPR's Terry Gross, who pointed to prominent Florida gun lobbyist Marion Hammer as "one of the most powerful people in the NRA." Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was one of the biggest beneficiaries of gun lobby cash in 2016, as the NRA spent over $3.3 million targeting his opponents.

At the national level, the NRA spent over $11 million on ads supporting Donald Trump — and nearly $20 million on anti-Hillary attack ads, according to Business Insider.

"We like to call ourselves the best country on earth," Rather wrote. "We like to say how we have a can-do spirit to conquer challenges. But all that self-congratulatory rhetoric rings pretty damn hollow on days like today."

"Anyone who says now isn't the time to talk about gun violence, anyone who says there's nothing we can do, anyone who offers up only thoughts and prayers is saying that they can't be bothered with the hard work of trying to keep American children safe. Shame on them. And shame on our nation."

Text RESIST to 50409 or contact your representatives in Congress to demand they act on on gun legislation.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.