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I am done with thoughts and prayers and "looking for the helpers."

I am done with thoughts and prayers and "looking for the helpers."

Thoughts and prayers. Lone wolf. Mental health. “Look for the helpers.”

You know what? NO.

I am a person of faith, but I am done with our first and only response to mass shootings being to think about and pray for victims. Thoughts and prayers are a given, not a solution.

I’m done with lone wolf after lone wolf after lone wolf—the majority of which actually have some striking commonalities—terrorizing my country because we refuse to take any serious steps to prevent the easiest means of mass murder.


I’m done with blaming mental health when every other country in the world has mentally unstable people and nowhere near our number of mass shootings.

I loved Mr. Rogers with all my heart, but I am done “looking for the helpers” in an attempt to feel better about the fact that I live in what is supposedly the greatest country in the world and I can’t go to a movie, or a restaurant, or a concert, or a church, or a grocery store, or a post office, or a shopping mall, or a kindergarten classroom without envisioning how I’d save my children if a gunman came in and opened fire.

We. Should. Not. Have. To. Live. Like. This.

America, I love you. But you are broken. And I am so damn tired of constantly having this same conversation with you. I’m tired of writing about school shootings. I’m tired of writing about the effect of kids growing up doing active shooter drills. I’m tired of explaining why arming teachers is a horrible idea. I’m tired of sharing the research that shows that stricter gun laws do actually work. (Fair warning: If anyone cries “But Chicago!” without reading that link, they will get a verbal flogging like they have never seen.) I’m tired of having to resort to writing satire peppered with research in attempt to not lose my mind while trying to get you to understand that THIS JUST DOESN’T HAPPEN IN OTHER COUNTRIES.

Our constitutional right to bear arms is not immutable. We passed constitutional amendments to end slavery and give women the right to vote. We can certainly do SOMETHING about the fact that we have a higher gun violence rate than any other developed nation by far, and a higher gun violence rate than most developing nations to boot.

I mean, when you picture Palestine, including the West Bank and Gaza, do you imagine it having a higher gun death rate than the U.S? (Spoiler alert: It doesn’t.)

I understand people’s fear of limiting our freedoms, but what we are living with now is not freedom.

Parents live in fear of sending their kids off to school. Teachers live in fear of having to protect their students from a gunman busting into their classroom. People live in fear of attending concert halls and movie theaters. Women live in fear of their abusive partners. People live in fear of their loved ones with suicidal thoughts having easy access to the most effective and immediate way to die.

Other countries have figured out how to have guns without having regularly scheduled mass shootings. Gun culture in the U.S. is limiting our right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Whatever we’re doing (or not doing) isn't working.

It’s long past time to try something else.

(If you’re wondering what that something else might be, please go to the Giffords Law Center website, hover over Gun Laws and read through the Policy Areas. This is the clearest, most thorough resource I’ve found for explaining what sensible gun legislation entails.)

This post originally appeared on Motherhood and More. You can read it here.

Image from YouTube video.

An emotional and strong Matt Diaz.


Matt Diaz has worked extremely hard to lose 270 pounds over the past six years.

But his proudest moment came in March 2015 when he decided to film himself with his shirt off to prove an important point about body positivity and self-love.

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Community

Man uses social media to teach others ASL so kids don't experience what he did as a child

Every child should be able to communicate in a way that works best for them.

Man teaches people ASL so no child experiences what he did

People start communicating from the moment they enter the world usually through cries, faces, grunts and squeals. Once infants move into the toddler phase the combine all of their previous communication skills with pointing and saying a few frequently used words like "milk," "mama," "dada" and "eat."

Children who are born without the ability to hear often still go through those same stages with the exception of their frequently used words being in sign language. But not all hearing parents know sign language, which can stunt the language skills of their non-hearing child. Ronnie McKenzie is an American Sign Language advocate that uses social media to teach others how to sign so deaf and nonverbal kids don't feel left out.

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Family

Wife says husband's last name is so awful she can't give it to her kids. Is she right?

"I totally get we can’t shield kids from everything, and I understand the whole family ties thing, but c’mon."

A wife pleads with her husband to change their child's name.

Even though it’s 2023 and schools are much more concerned with protecting children from bullying than in the past, parents still have to be aware that kids will be kids, and having a child with a funny name is bound to cause them trouble.

A mother on Reddit is concerned that her future children will have the unfortunate last name of “Butt,” so she asked people on the namenerds forum to help her convince her husband to name their child something different.

(Note: We’re assuming that the person who wrote the post is a woman because their husband is interested in perpetuating the family name, and if it were a same-sex relationship, a husband probably wouldn’t automatically make that assumption.)

"My husband’s last name is Butt. Can someone please help me illuminate to him why this last name is less than ideal,” she asked the forum. “I totally get we can’t shield kids from everything and I understand the whole family ties thing, but c'mon. Am I being unreasonable by suggesting our future kid either take my name, a hybrid, or a new one altogether?"

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Joy

Bus driver comes to the rescue for boy who didn't have an outfit for school's Pajamas Day

“It hurt me so bad…I wanted him to have a good day. No child should have to miss out on something as small as pajama day.”

Representative Image from Canva

One thoughtful act can completely turn someone's day around.

On the morning just before Valentine’s Day, school bus driver Larry Farrish Jr. noticed something amiss with Levi, one of his first grade passengers, on route to Engelhard Elementary, part of Jefferson County Public School (JCPS) in Louisville, Kentucky.

On any other day, the boy would greet Farrish with a smile and a wave. But today, nothing. Levi sat down by himself, eyes downcast, no shining grin to be seen. Farrish knew something was up, and decided to inquire.

With a “face full of tears,” as described on the JCPS website, Levi told Farrish that today was “Pajama Day” at school, but he didn’t have any pajamas to wear for the special occasion.
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via Imgur

Memories of testing like this gets people fired up.

It doesn't take much to cause everyone on the internet to go a little crazy, so it's not completely surprising that an incorrect answer on a child's math test is the latest event to get people fired up.

The test in question asked kids to solve "5 x 3" using repeated addition. Under this method, the correct answer is "5 groups of 3," not "3 groups of 5." The question is typical of Common Core but has many questioning this type of standardized testing and how it affects learning.

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There are over 30 years between these amazing before-and-after photos.

"It's important for me for my photography to make people smile."

All photos by Chris Porsz/REX/Shutterstock.

Before and after photos separated by 30 years.


Chris Porsz was tired of studying sociology.

As a university student in the 1970s, he found the talk of economics and statistics completely mind-numbing. So instead, he says, he roamed the streets of his hometown of Peterborough, England, with a camera in hand, snapping pictures of the people he met and listening to their stories. To him, it was a far better way to understand the world.

He always looked for the most eccentric people he could find, anyone who stood out from the crowd. Sometimes he'd snap a single picture of that person and walk away. Other times he'd have lengthy conversations with these strangers.

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