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.

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.

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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

via @Todd_Spence / Twitter

Seven years ago, Bill Murray shared a powerful story about the importance of art. The revelation came during a discussion at the National Gallery in London for the release of 2014's "The Monuments Men." The film is about a troop of soldiers on a mission to recover art stolen by the Nazis.

After his first time performing on stage in Chicago, Murray was so upset with himself that he contemplated taking his own life.

"I wasn't very good, and I remember my first experience, I was so bad I just walked out — out onto the street and just started walking," he said.

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