+
girl scouts, gun violence

Amerie Jo Garza was one of 19 schoolchildren killed by a gunman at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

Fellow Americans, it's long past time to take a good, hard look in the mirror.

The fact that we just had yet another horrific school shooting, with 19 children and two teachers being massacred in their classrooms by a guy with military-style guns that he easily and legally obtained, is maddening. The fact that we've seen this same story play out in schools across the country over and over and over again is enraging. The fact that too many of our lawmakers refuse to take any legislative action whatsoever to try to curb the constant carnage, completely ignoring the vast amounts of data that show gun laws do work to reduce gun violence, is disgusting.

Sandy Hook should have been enough. Parkland should have been enough. Columbine should have been enough. Every single school shooting should have been the end of it. But here we are.

As the individual stories of the children killed at Robb Elementary School come to light, we can't turn away. We must bear witness to what they experienced, to the terror they and their surviving classmates endured, to the anguish and heartbreak of their loved ones.

But as we do that, let's not embrace "brave hero" narratives for these children the way we do with soldiers on the battlefield. Please. Let's just not.


The Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas posted a tribute to Uvalde fourth grader Amerie Jo Garza on Twitter, sharing that the organization had posthumously bestowed upon the slain 10-year-old the Bronze Cross, one of the highest honors in the Girl Scouts, and it was like a punch right in the gut. I'm not sure if I've ever seen anything so well-intentioned feel so dark.

"The Bronze Cross is awarded for saving or attempting to save life at the risk of the Girl Scout’s own life," the tweet thread read. "On May 24, Amerie did all she could to save the lives of her classmates and teachers. It was our honor as Amerie’s council to present the Bronze Cross to her family, and Girl Scouts will continue to pay tribute at her funeral services today with a Presentation of Colors."

"We will carry her story with us always and ensure her brave actions will endure for generations," they wrote.

I'm sorry, what fresh hell dystopian reality did I just fall into? As a parent, I cannot even begin to fathom how I would process being handed a Girl Scout honor for my daughter for her bravery during a school shooting. Only in America, right?

To be clear, I'm not faulting the Girl Scouts for doing something to honor Amerie Jo Garza. She was a Girl Scout. To say nothing and do nothing would be wrong. But this also feels wrong. Everything about this situation feels wrong, because it is wrong.

The Girls Scouts shouldn't have felt the need to posthumously awarded Amerie a Bronze Cross, because they shouldn't have had to figure out what to do in light of her death, because she shouldn't have had to try to save her classmates before being shot to death in her classroom, because the 18-year-old who murdered her should never have been able to obtain two AR-15 rifles and 1,657 rounds of ammunition. It simply shouldn't have happened. Period.

The Uvalde gunman had more ammunition than soldiers carry into war. Let that sit for a second. There is zero—absolutely zero—reason for any civilian to have access to that much killing power.

And the result of our insistence on repeatedly doing nothing about this reality is that we talk about fourth graders—who should be doing fractions, not hiding from gunfire in their classrooms—with the same heroic language we use for soldiers who make the ultimate sacrifice. It's unbelievably disturbing.

This is it, America. This is the bottom. And it's not like we just got here. We've been dragging ourselves along the bottom for decades now. Are we going to stay there or are we going to finally snap out of our delusion that our country's gun culture equals safety and freedom? Because all signs point to that being a complete and total myth.

When our kids and teachers can't go to school without worrying about being gunned down at their desks, it's clear that we are not free. When little Amerie Jo Garza's parents are handed a Bronze Cross for their 10-year-old's brave actions in a school massacre—when there were armed and trained officials at the scene—it's clear that we are not made safer by guns.

Enough is enough, and enough came and went a long time ago. Our lawmakers need to borrow a backbone and pass the gun legislation most Americans agree on before our kids start earning scout badges for successfully surviving a mass shooting.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

Keep ReadingShow less

Co-sleeping isn't for everyone.

The marital bed is a symbol of the intimacy shared between people who’ve decided to be together 'til death they do part. When couples sleep together it’s an expression of their closeness and how they care for one another when they are most vulnerable.

However, for some couples, the marital bed can be a warzone. Throughout the night couples can endure snoring, sleep apnea, the ongoing battle for sheets or circadian rhythms that never seem to sync. If one person likes to fall asleep with the TV on while the other reads a book, it can be impossible to come to an agreement on a good-night routine.

Last week on TODAY, host Carson Daly reminded viewers that he and his wife Siri, a TODAY Food contributor, had a sleep divorce while she was pregnant with their fourth child.

“I was served my sleep-divorce papers a few years ago,” he explained on TODAY. “It’s the best thing that ever happened to us. We both, admittedly, slept better apart.”

Keep ReadingShow less