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"The paralysis you feel right now — the impotent helplessness that washes over you as news of another mass slaughter scrolls across the television screen — isn’t real," wrote Sen. Chris Murphy.

"It's a fiction created and methodically cultivated by the gun lobby, designed to assure that no laws are passed to make America safer, because those laws would cut into their profits," the Connecticut Democrat continued.

As many other politicians followed the standard routine of blaming gun violence on mental illness and offering "thoughts and prayers" in the wake of yet another mass shooting — this one in a Sutherland Springs, Texas, church — Murphy issued a statement urging immediate and tangible action.


Murphy speaks out following the Pulse night club shooting in 2016. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

The reaction to this most recent shooting in Texas, which killed at least 26 churchgoers and injured 20 others, has become disturbingly routine.

The attack, reportedly carried out by 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley, came less than five weeks after the Las Vegas massacre (58 dead), 16 months after the Pulse night club shooting in Orlando (49 dead), and five years after the Sandy Hook shooting (27 dead). CNN's Brian Stelter called the Texas shooting "unfathomable," but a look at the regularity with which these massacres happen suggests otherwise.

Murphy, who was the congressman for the city of Newtown, Connecticut, during the Sandy Hook shooting, is urging us to take a look at these horrors for what they are: a part of American life that we can put an end to if we want to.

"None of this is inevitable," Murphy wrote. "I know this because no other country endures this pace of mass carnage like America. It is uniquely and tragically American. As long as our nation chooses to flood the country with dangerous weapons and consciously let those weapons fall into the hands of dangerous people, these killings will not abate."

The First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, following a shooting on Nov. 5, 2017. Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images.

Too many members of Congress are bought and paid for by the gun lobby, led by the National Rifle Association. Murphy wants to change that.

In recent years, the NRA has gotten increasingly extremist in its positions and messaging. They count on people being too shocked to act, and they count on that to defer any sort of legislative solution to some undefined future time when it's no longer "disrespectful" to the victims to want to do something that will prevent there being future victims.

Murphy is calling on his colleagues to reconsider whether it's worth it to pander to the gun lobby at the cost of American lives. If they can't or won't do that — which you can find out by contacting your representative and senators to find out where they stand on the issue — it's up to everyday citizens to vote them out of office.

"The terrifying fact is that no one is safe so long as Congress chooses to do absolutely nothing in the face of this epidemic," Murphy concluded. "The time is now for Congress to shed its cowardly cover and do something."

Pop Culture

She bought the perfect wedding dress that went viral on TikTok. It was only $3.75

Lynch is part of a growing line of newlyweds going against the regular wedding tradition of spending loads of money.

Making a priceless memory

Upon first glance, one might think that Jillian Lynch wore a traditional (read: expensive) dress to her wedding. After all, it did look glamorous on her. But this 32-year-old bride has a secret superpower: thrifting.

Lynch posted her bargain hunt on TikTok, sharing that she had been perusing thrift shops in Ohio for four days in a row, with the actual ceremony being only a month away. Lynch then displays an elegant ivory-colored Camila Coelho dress. Fitting perfectly, still brand new and with the tags on it, no less.

You can find that exact same dress on Revolve for $220. Lynch bought it for only $3.75.
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This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


Addie Rodriguez was supposed to take the field with her dad during a high school football game, where he, along with other dads, would lift her onto his shoulders for a routine. But Addie's dad was halfway across the country, unable to make the event.

Her father is Abel Rodriguez, a veteran airman who, after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was training at Travis Air Force Base in California, 1,700 miles from his family in San Antonio at the time.

"Mom missed the memo it was parent day, and the reason her mom missed the memo was her dad left Wednesday," said Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, Addie's mom. She continued, "It was really heartbreaking to see your daughter standing out there being the only one without their father, knowing why he's away. It's not just an absentee parent. He's serving our country."

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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.