His wife—and only family—was killed in the El Paso shooting. Everyone's invited to her funeral.

Imagine having your only family member taken from you in an act of violence while shopping at Walmart.

When Margie Reckard was killed in the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, 61-year-old Antonio Basco was left with no living relatives. Basco and Reckard had been married for 22 years.

"Me and my wife had a bond, a magnificent bond," Basco told CNN. "I never felt anything like that in my life." He said they had "a wonderful life" together.

Basco has spent every day since the shooting visiting a makeshift memorial for his wife outside of the Walmart where Reckard was shot and killed. He prays for her and talks to her. He even slept there one night.


"I can't stay away from here," Basco told CNN. "All I know is that my wife never hurt someone."

It's a heartbreaking story with a heartwarming twist. Basco has invited the public to his wife's funeral, and the supportive responses from fellow El Paso residents, as well as the rest of the country, have been overwhelming.

Perches Funeral Home posted a Facebook invitation to Reckard's funeral, and in two days it's already been shared 14,000 times. In fact, the response has been so great that the location of the funeral had to be changed to a bigger venue.

The funeral home has a capacity of 250, but at least 1,000 people are expected to come.

"We're getting calls constantly, every two or three minutes," Harrison Johnson, the funeral director at Perches Funeral Homes, told NPR. "It really surprised us." Dozens of people have already ordered flowers for the funeral as well.

People have joined Basco at his wife's Walmart memorial to offer their support. A local journalist, Carlos Armendáriz, even set up a GoFundMe page for Basco after taking his photo at the memorial and getting a strong response from people. "My intention was that people can help him as much as they can," Armendáriz told CNN.

"If it wasn't for all of these people, I don't know how I would make it," Basco said.

El Paso was rocked to its core by the mass shooting, by far the worst act of violence the peaceful community has seen. The gunman, who had penned a white supremacist manifesto explaining his motive, drove ten hours to the border city specifically to kill Mexican immigrants. Basco's wife was not his intended target, but hatred has a habit of harming indiscriminately.

RELATED: Most domestic terrorism comes from white supremacists, FBI tells lawmakers

The support that Basco is receiving is wonderful, and the way El Paso has come together in the wake of such a tragedy highlights the humanity that resides there. There is beauty in the response to this tragedy.

But it's a tragedy that never should have happened in the first place. Basco shouldn't be planning this funeral. I shouldn't be writing this article. Because the greatest country with the greatest economy that espouses the greatest freedoms and the greatest political system in the world should not be a country where people fear being shot to death while grocery shopping.

Or sitting in a movie theater.

Or attending a concert.

Or walking down a high school hallway.

Or practicing subtraction in a first-grade classroom.

In no other developed nation do children regularly rehearse what to do if a gunman enters their school. In no other developed nation do school custodians and secretaries have to learn what various kinds of bullet wounds look like in a child's body. In no other developed nation do citizens walk into a public place and immediately plan for what they'll do if someone comes in and starts shooting. That thought is rightfully horrific to people on the outside looking in.

Of course, mass shootings are not the primary sources of our gun violence rates. But the fact is that guns kill as many Americans as car accidents (in fact, more in 2017). Twice as many children died from gun violence in America as police officers and soldiers combined from 2013 to 2017. Toddlers shoot and kill more Americans than foreign-born terrorists.

We. Have. A. Problem.

RELATED: Twice as many American children die from gun violence as police officers and soldiers combined

Rather than do what every other developed nation has done—enact nationwide gun legislation that requires some combination of background checks, waiting periods, safe storage, limits on ammunition, and mandatory basic safety and usage training—to try to prevent the carnage, we rehearse for it. We accept the underlying fear and the sacrifice of children as the price we pay for America's gun obsession. We accept that a toddler pulling a gun out of his mom's purse and shooting her in the grocery store is just another manifestation of freedom. We accept a man losing his only family member in a mass shooting as the price we pay for an unreasonable attachment to and interpretation of an amendment written when guns couldn't shoot 36 people in under 30 seconds.

I hope that thousands show up to Marie Reckard's funeral to bear witness to the senseless loss of her life. I hope Antonio Basco feels uplifted by this outpouring of support from the masses. I hope the country they and millions of others whose lives have been impacted by gun violence call home finally decides that we've sacrificed enough Americans at the altar of gun rights.


Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

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4 minutes of silence can boost your empathy for others. Watch as refugees try it out.

We could all benefit from breaking down some of the walls in our lives.

Images via Amnesty Poland

This article originally appeared on 05.26.16


You'd be hard-pressed to find a place on Earth with more wall-based symbolism than Berlin, Germany.

But there, in the heart of Germany's capital city, strangers sat across from one another, staring into each other's eyes. To the uninitiated, it may look as though you've witnessed some sort of icy standoff. The truth, however, couldn't be more different.

This was about tearing down walls between people.

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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."