+
upworthy
Democracy

More than seven thousand people shared their best ideas to stop mass shootings. Here are the best.

Everyone agrees mass shootings need to end. But what can really be done?

mass shootings, mass shooting prevention, red flags

A makeshift memorial after the 2019 El Paso mass shooting.

As of January 24, 2023, at least 69 people have been killed in 39 mass shootings across the United States . The deadliest shooting happened on January 21 in Monterey Park, California, when a 72-year-old man shot 20 people, killing 11. On January 23, a 66-year-old man killed 7 people and injured another in a shooting in Half Moon Bay, California.

It’s hard to see these stories in the news every few weeks—or days—and not get desensitized, especially when lawmakers have made it clear that they will not do anything substantive to curb the availability of assault weapons in the U.S.

After the assault weapons ban, which had been in effect for 10 years, lapsed in 2004, the number of mass shootings tripled.



To find a glimmer of hope in such a dire situation, Reddit user Themissrebecca103 asked the online forum, “What could be done to prevent mass shootings?” and received nearly 16,000 responses. Many of the solutions looked past the intractable gun debate to the root causes that drive people to act out violently.

mass shootings, mass shooting stats, mass shooting history

Total Deaths in US Mass Shootings 1982-2021.

via Wikimedia Commons

Here are seven of the most thought-provoking potential solutions to the mass shooting problem.

1. Change attitudes around guns.

"There's no quick answer, in part because 'mass shootings' combine many different underlying issues.

If we are talking about high-profile mass shootings, our problem in the USA relates to several overlapping issues:

It is relatively easy to acquire firearms. The legal mechanisms to deny a high risk person firearms are very limited. Every country produces a small percentage of deeply problematic people; ours is unique in arming them.

American culture around firearms is deeply problematic. Other heavily armed wealthy nations, like the commonly compared Switzerland, make the use of firearms a responsibility of being a good citizen. American culture all too often celebrates firearms as an extra-legal tool for imposing your will.

The modern world is a lonely world. People spend much more time alone now. This gets far beyond the scope of this reply, but many of our traditional social organizations have failed to adapt to the modern world. Young people are increasingly left without a community or direction. This amplifies the above issues.

Combined, these speak to mass shootings as a consequence of low social cohesion on a legal, cultural, and institutional level. Addressing that is multi-generational work." — CxEnsign

2. Take mental health seriously.

"Make therapy more easily accessible for people who are middle or lower class. And actually take mental health and bullying seriously, instead of falsely advocating for it and brushing it off when people need serious mental help." — AshtheArtist

monterey park, mass shooting california, star ballroom dance

The makeshift memorial outside Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park on January 23rd 2023.

via Wikimedia Commons

3. Do something about red flags.

"People need to have real honest conversations with their loved ones and friends when the red flags go flying. Many of these shootings are not random and the warning signs were present. Help that woman escape her abuser, tell your brother to grow the fuck up and stop being abusive, take your son’s firearms when you know they are an abusive alcoholic, etc… Most of these people don’t live in isolation and people turn a blind eye because they feel it’s not their problem or place to insert themselves. Be brave and speak up. It could save someone’s life." — SometimesILieToo

4. Change the media.

Shut down the news stations and pundits which are drumming up mentally ill people into thinking they're in a fight-for-your-life scenario which justifies mass murder to them?" — ConnieHormoneMonster

5. Foster the development of happy, healthy people.

"Usually in these mass acts of violence, there are signs that people see beforehand. Posts made online, behavior at work or school or at home, basically a known history of struggle. By the time the incidents occur, there's always a person that knew them before, that saw it coming a mile away.

There aren't really resources or protocols for people like this, and removing the weapons from their hands feels like a band aid solution to a much bigger problem.

Happy, healthy people don't go on mass killing sprees, and our current environment isn't exactly producing healthy, happy people. I mean, just look at how many of us are on prescription drugs because we can't cope with the way society is set up. We're on drugs for depression and anxiety and emotional regulation and hormonal regulation because everything is imbalanced. Almost all of us are poor, just a couple of missed paychecks away from being homeless. We're constantly seeking mental stimulation because if we have to think beyond the surface for a minute we start falling apart. We're battling malnutrition without even realizing it because most of us are battling obesity. In other countries the raw fruits and veggies taste better and are more filling, people will travel and lose weight despite eating many of the same kinds of foods, the only difference is the lack of chemicals and preservatives inside.

This society isn't producing happy, healthy people. And some of us can cope with it better than others.

Here, there are three options. You can work 40+ hours a week from the ages of 18 to the day you die and barely make ends meet, you can try an alternative path and end up homeless or close to it, or you can basically win a lottery that either lets you comfortably work less than 40 hours a week, allows you to retire early, or lets you pursue a lucrative passion that doesn't feel like work. Most of us choose the first option.

You can disarm them, but then you've still got creatives that will use their cars or craft an explosive.

Treatment is probably the second best option we have. Ideally, we would know someone that sets off alarm bells, and we could call a doctor for them. They'd spend a few months getting help, and come back better.

But that isn't how it's set up. There aren't resources for this. You can't force people to get therapy. You can't just call the cops on people that haven't committed a crime, because you think one day they might commit a crime.
And it sucks, because we all know the signs. Sometimes we try to call someone for help, and there just isn't a department for that.

The best option would be to create a better environment for everyone, encourage community and friendships and strengthen the bond between people to promote love and harmony, fix the food situation, fix the income situation, promote better and more diverse ways of living. Because if you don't feel depressed and angry and alone, you won't be at risk of falling into the mindset of someone who does these sorts of things.

America's gun violence is a symptom of a much larger problem, and the ones who want to fix that problem don't have the means to do so. The ones who have the means to fix it either don't know why it's happening, or don't care why it's happening.

Until we stop offering bandaid solutions that would be ineffective or minimally effective, we will continue to see this kind of behavior." — SourBlue1992

barack obama, sandy hook shooting, mass shooting

President Barack Obama delivers a statement in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House regarding the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, Dec. 14, 2012.

via Wikimedia Commons

6. It starts at home.

"As a teacher, it starts with kids needing love and care at home, which leads to people having their basic Maslow needs met so they aren’t constantly struggling. And mental health needs to become a priority instead of something we mostly ignore in the US. Kids (and adults) seek power and a sense of control through a gun because it’s missing in the rest of their life." — Amherst 2023

7. Stop turning shooters into celebrities in the media.

I'm British. I don't know what's best for Americans as well as they do. But here's some thoughts:

I don't think you can copy-paste UK policy to the US. it's like changing someone's intrinsic identity. Take Iran for example. One of the lowest alcohol mortality rates. Imagine an Iranian saying to a British person 'why don't you just ban alcohol! It causes so much death. We banned it and our rate of mortality due to alcohol is one of the lowest in the world.'

You'd say something like "why should I give up something I enjoy and is part of my culture because a few bad apples take it too far?"

From talking to them, Americans view guns the same way. 'Why does someone else doing wrong with guns have any bearing on me who's just using it for fun/protection?'

I'd say a mix is gun regulations and mental health support and not making martyrs of shooters has the best chance." — allthetaimpdetime

Some responses have been edited for length.

Canva

O Organics make eating organic affordable

True

Friendsgiving might have started as a novel alternative to Thanksgiving, but today it’s an American holiday in its own right.

For many, especially millennials and Gen Zers, Friendsgiving offers an opportunity to get creative with their celebrations without being obligated to outdated, even problematic traditions or having to break the bank.

However, some of us might not want to go to the extreme of only having pizza and beer. What if there were a way to balance the decadence of a traditional Thanksgiving meal while still keeping it easy and laid-back? And could we make it healthy too?

As it turns out, we can.

Here’s a super simple breakdown of what your next Friendsgiving prep could look like. An appetizer, salad, side, entree, and dessert. All done in an hour—even quicker if you assign certain dishes to different partygoers. #spreadsheetsrule

But wait, it gets better—all of these meals can be made organic at an affordable price, using O Organics® at Albertsons. O Organics helps shoppers find quality ingredients at reasonable prices every day of the year. Friendsgiving is no different.

Without further ado, let’s get cooking!

Appetizer: Charcuterie Board


Canva

Nothing quite hits like the fancy, grown-up version of Lunchables. Crackers, meats, cheeses, and various fancy toppings that can be combined in endless ways. The easiest form of culinary creativity there is.

You already know how to make one of these bad boys, but here’s a basic template if you’re needing a dose of inspo:

Meats: Some tasty choices here are salami, prosciutto, sausage, etc. I made a smaller-scale board and decided to go with salami. If you or your friends aren’t a fan of pork, sliced turkey or smoked salmon are some yummy alternatives.

Cheese: The possibilities are endless here. You can even opt for a dairy-free cheese option!

Bread or Crackers: Artfully arranged. Speedily snacked upon. Some O Organics options here and here.

Fillers: this is where the charcuterie really shines. Fill in the spaces with splashes of color and flavor. Be sure to go for both savory and sweet. That means olives, sliced cucumbers, bell peppers, nuts, and a vibrant array of fresh or dried fruit. A yummy fruit spread doesn’t hurt either.

Time: 5 min

Salad: Squash And Feta Salad

Ingredients:

(3-4 servings)

1 small red onion (O Organics sells them in a bag)

1 bag O Organics frozen Butternut Squash

6 cups fresh O Organics spinach, arugula, kale, or whatever salad green you like

1/4 cup O Organics pecans

1/4 cup O Organics Extra Virgin Olive Oil

O Organics Lemon and Olive Oil Salad Dressing

CrumbledO Organics Goat Cheese

Salt and pepper

Chop some onions. Sautee them in olive oil. Add a bag of frozen squash. Dress some salad greens with dressing. Add the onions and squash. Top with pecans, cheese, salt and pepper. Badda bing badda boom.

Time: 10 minutes

Side: Autumn Seasoned Air Fryer “Roasted” Potatoes

Canva

As any millennial will tell you, we love our air fryers. Nothing quite ticks all the quick, easy and healthy boxes quite like one. And if you haven’t yet had a perfectly crispy on the outside, buttery soft on the inside air fryer potato, then what are you waiting for?

Ingredients:

One 3 pound bag of O Organics red or russet potatoes—honestly any potato will do

2 Tablespoons O Organics olive oil

1 tsp Italian Seasoning

That’s it. No really.

Cut potatoes into one-inch pieces. Coat with olive oil. Sprinkle seasoning. Cook in an air fryer at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Toss the potatoes in the basket and continue to cook for 8-10 minutes or until tender and crisp.

Time: 20 minutes. TOPS.

Entree: Coconut Chicken Curry

cravingsomethinghealthy.com

Because who needs turkey? This one pot piéce de rèsistance is the very essence of Friendsgiving—unique, versatile and not without a little spice.

Being the entree, this dish calls for a few more ingredients, but is honestly not much more demanding. You’re basically looking at 15 minutes for prep, and about 30 minutes to simmer.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon O Organics olive oil

1 medium onion diced

2 teaspoons ginger minced

2 teaspoons green curry paste

2 teaspoons curry powder

2 cups O Organics Thai Style Curry Chicken Broth

1 large sweet potato peeled and cut into 1-inch dice

1 15-ounce can O Organics full-fat coconut milk

2 ½ cups O Organics cooked chicken breast

1 8.8 ounce package O Organics 7 Grains & Lentils Blend

1 16 ounce bag of O Organics frozen peas

½ teaspoon salt or to taste

Lime juice

Cilantro

Chopped O Organics cashews to garnish

Using a Dutch oven (or large pot with a lid), saute the onion and ginger in olive oil over medium heat, for about 4 minutes. Add the curry paste and curry powder and saute for one more minute.

Add the Thai Style Curry Chicken Broth and the diced sweet potato. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then cover with a lid, reduce the heat to medium-low and catch up with friends for 20 minutes while the dish simmers.

When the sweet potato is tender, shake the can of coconut milk well and pour it into the pot. Add the chicken, 7 Grains & Lentils Blend, and peas. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and let the curry simmer for another 10 minutes.

Congrats! You are finished. You can add salt, lime juice, cilantro, extra curry powder/paste, or garnish with roasted cashews. Each bowl is customizable.

Time: 40 min

Dessert: Holiday Kettle Corn Bark

onbetterliving.com

Of course, you can always opt for pie, but sometimes people might want to opt for something a bit more bite-sized when it comes to desserts—especially after a hefty meal. This sweet and salty finger food does the trick quite nicely.

Ingredients:

1 bag (6 oz) O Organics Kettle Corn Organic Popcorn (about 9 cups)

1 bag (10 oz) O Organics Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

8 oz white chocolate, broken into small pieces

1 cup pistachios, roasted and salted

2/3 cup O Organics Dried Cranberries

2 tbsp O Organics Organic Coconut Oil

1 tsp salt

Line a 12x17-inch baking sheet with wax or parchment paper. Spread kettle corn on the lined baking sheet in one thin single layer. Put the semi-sweet chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Drizzle the melted chocolate evenly over kettle corn, reserving about a 1/3 cup for finishing touches. Sprinkle the pistachios and cranberries over the kettle corn evenly.

Follow the same melting instructions for the white chocolate, then drizzle evenly over the kettle corn. You can follow with any remaining semi-sweet chocolate for a layered effect. Let the kettle corn stand for 5 minutes.

Place the kettle corn bark in the freezer for 10 minutes to harden. Once the bark has hardened, break into pieces.

Time: 20 minutes.

OR…if you want to make life even easier…just grab some pints of ice cream and call it a day. No judgment here.

Time: literally a few seconds to open the freezer and grab some bowls.

And there you have—a no muss, no fuss, healthy and affordable Friendsgiving spread. Spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your chosen family.

Get to your nearest Albertsons today and find everything you need to make these yummy dishes! No Albertsons in your area? You can also find O Organics products exclusively at Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, ACME, Shaw’s, Star Market, Tom Thumb, Randalls, and Pavilions.

A young woman drinking bottled water outdoors before exercising.



The Story of Bottled Waterwww.youtube.com

Here are six facts from the video above by The Story of Stuff Project that I'll definitely remember next time I'm tempted to buy bottled water.

1. Bottled water is more expensive than tap water (and not just a little).

via The Story of Stuff Project/YouTube


A Business Insider column noted that two-thirds of the bottled water sold in the United States is in individual 16.9-ounce bottles, which comes out to roughly $7.50 per gallon. That's about 2,000 times higher than the cost of a gallon of tap water.

And in an article in 20 Something Finance, G.E. Miller investigated the cost of bottled versus tap water for himself. He found that he could fill 4,787 20-ounce bottles with tap water for only $2.10! So if he paid $1 for a bottled water, he'd be paying 2,279 times the cost of tap.

2. Bottled water could potentially be of lower quality than tap water.

Keep ReadingShow less
Image from Pixabay.

I still miss her.


My mother died from ovarian cancer when I was a young child.

I'm in my late 30s now, and I'm still navigating this loss as I move through life. I've lived most of my life without my mother at this point, but I still miss her.

Here are three things I've learned since losing Mam:

Keep ReadingShow less
@jac.rsoe8/TikTok

Some dads just get it.

There’s no shortage of stories out there showing how emotionally distant or out of touch some baby boomers can be. Younger generations are so fed up with it that they have their own catchphrase of frustration, for crying out loud.

The disconnect becomes especially visible in parenting styles. Boomers, who grew up with starkly different views on empathy, trauma and seeking help, have a reputation for being less than ideal support systems for their children when it comes to emotional issues.

But even if they often have a different way of showing it, boomer parents do have love for their children, and many try their best to be a source of comfort in some way when their kid suffers.

Occupational therapist Jacqueline (@jac.rose8) recently shared a lovely example of this by posting a video of her boomer dad helping her through a divorce in the best way he knew how.

Turns out, it was the perfect thing.

Keep ReadingShow less


We all know that Americans pay more for healthcare than every other country in the world. But how much more?

According an American expatriate who shared the story of his ER visit in a Taiwanese hospital, Americans are being taken to the cleaners when we go to the doctor. We live in a country that claims to be the greatest in the world, but where an emergency trip to the hospital can easily bankrupt someone.

Kevin Bozeat had that fact in mind when he fell ill while living in Taiwan and needed to go to the hospital. He didn't have insurance and he had no idea how much it was going to cost him. He shared the experience in a now-viral Facebook post he called "The Horrors of Socialized Medicine: A first hand experience."

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Inside the Beatles’ messy breakup, 53 years ago

More than 50 years later, there's still more to learn about the world's greatest band.

via TM on music / Twitter

Fifty years ago, when Paul McCartney announced he had left the Beatles, the news dashed the hopes of millions of fans, while fueling false reunion rumors that persisted well into the new decade.

In a press release on April 10, 1970 for his first solo album, "McCartney," he leaked his intention to leave. In doing so, he shocked his three bandmates.

The Beatles had symbolized the great communal spirit of the era. How could they possibly come apart?

Keep ReadingShow less
Steps of Faith Foundation/Youtube

Rebecca and Ted, together again.

It hasn’t even been a year since the beloved series “Ted Lasso,” which told the story of a kind hearted, folksy football coach and his team of believers, came to its final episode.

And yet, since the series ended, fans have yearned to have any type of chance to see some of their favorite characters come together again—which is what makes a surprise rock-n-roll duet between Jason Sudeikis, Ted Lasso himself, and Hannah Waddigham, who played boss and bestie Rebecca Welton.


A video quickly making the rounds online starts with Sudeikis sharing the stage with fellow “Saturday Night Live” star Will Forte, telling him “there’s nobody I would rather be singing this song with. ”

Keep ReadingShow less