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Samantha Bee uses children’s theater to explain how lobbyists shut down gun reform.

In eight states, schools treat active shooter situations like natural disasters. What?

Samantha Bee uses children’s theater to explain how lobbyists shut down gun reform.

Fire drills, earthquake drills, and tornado drills are common in schools around the country (and world, really). They represent response to an unpredictable, unstoppable natural disasters.

And it's good to be prepared in these types of situations. Whether that means crouching down under desks or filing out the door, it's important to have a plan in these scenarios.


Duck and cover. GIF via "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee"/YouTube.

In response to near-weekly school shootings, educators in eight states now practice another kind of emergency plan with their students: active shooter drills.

Since 2013, there have been more than 170 school shootings. While it seems like the obvious focus should be on figuring out how to prevent shooters from accessing guns in the first place, we've kind of accepted this as the new normal, a disaster as unpredictable as a fire.

Image via "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee"/YouTube.

Last night's episode of "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee" gave viewers a look at these drills and the industry behind them.

Bee met with Alon Stivii, a former Israel Special Forces Op, to better understand what these drills mean. Essentially, it's a lesson in how to turn classroom items into weapons.

Stivi shows Bee how to use a pencil to stab someone. Seriously. Image via "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee"/YouTube.

It's kind of terrifying.

Do active shooter drills do anything to stop the ever-rising number of school shootings?

No, and that's why they're not enough. All but two of the eight states (Illinois and New Jersey) have especially lax gun laws with wide loopholes that allow people to sidestep background checks in certain situations. In one of the states, a bill was proposed that would have made it a felony for lawmakers to even try to enact gun control.

Family members of gun violence victims gather before the second anniversary of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

If lawmakers are serious about stopping school shootings, it's time they stand up to the gun lobby and the NRA.

Many politicians shy away from working on gun control legislation out of fear that they'll get a failing grade from the National Rifle Association and will lose their funding as a result. But maybe what they need to do is adopt the same type of bravery they're asking of kids in these situations and stand up to the organization.

If they, as a legislative body, stand up to the lobby and pass common sense reforms like background checks, waiting periods, and limits on the number of bullets a gun can fire before needing to reload, they can effectively strip the organization of its power.

"Full Frontal" demonstrated this with a brilliant children's theater production about why lawmakers are scared into voting against gun control legislation.

They point to Republicans — like New Mexico's Nate Gentry — who've stood up to the NRA as examples to follow. In 2013, Gentry pushed to close the "gun show loophole" that allowed some people to sidestep background checks. Even though the NRA was opposed to the bill, Gentry was reelected.

The dreaded F rating from the NRA! GIF via "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee"/YouTube.

School shootings are not natural disasters, and we don't need to just accept this as the new normal. It's odd that there's only one country where this happens again and again, right? Let's change that.

So while there's nothing wrong with students being prepared for the worst-case scenario when it comes to active shooter situations, we need to do more to prevent those events from even taking place.


Right? It's pretty easy to understand. GIF via "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee"/YouTube.

Watch Bee's segment on active shooter drills below.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.