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That time People magazine got serious about gun violence and encouraged readers to do something

You might think of People magazine as a celebrity gossip rag, but in a recent letter from the editor, Editorial Director Jess Cagle wrote about something decidedly more serious.

As it often does in the wake of national tragedies, People covered the awful story about the Umpqua Community College massacre.

But the difference was the call to action contained in the editor's letter, which was also published online.


Cagle writes about the heartbreak of once again having to reach out to victims' family members after a mass shooting so that the magazine could pay tribute to them. Cagle says that there are "no easy answers" to the questions, "How could it happen again? What are we doing about gun violence in America?"

"But this much we know," he writes. "As a country we clearly aren't doing enough, and our elected officials' conversations about solutions usually end in political spin."

Cagle acknowledges: "I think mass shootings when I'm on a train, and when the lights go down in a movie theater, and when I see children in a classroom."

And then he gets to the point:

"We need to know that our representatives in Washington, D.C., are looking for solutions and not giving up, and they need to know if we agree or disagree with their strategies. Below, we've provided phone numbers, email addresses (provided by the Sunlight Foundation's OpenCongress project) and Twitter handles (when available) for all 535 voting members of the House and Senate. Let's make sure they know that from now on, "routine" responses just won't cut it."

He calls for readers to contact their senators and representatives and "make their voices heard." Providing the contact info of every member of Congress makes it much easier for readers to do.


The thing about gun violence is that we make it a political issue — and nothing ever changes.

In his video, Cagle says, "one thing is very, very clear: as a country, we are not doing enough about gun violence." He references the Center for Disease Control's statement that firearm injuries and deaths are a public health concern. Yet despite it being a public health concern, it's one we continue to ignore in the face of mass shootings and everyday gun violence so common it doesn't even make national news.

Despite the CDC's concern about gun violence, Congress has worked hard to ensure the government agency doesn't actually conduct any research into the best way to deal with it. Back in 1996, "Congress imposed major restrictions on what kind of gun violence research the CDC can do. And the agency has interpreted the restrictions to stop almost all gun-related research," explains Vox.

The ban —"None of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control." — was just recently extended by Congress.

If we want to see change, we need more information about what's going to actually help reduce gun violence.

Because doing nothing sure isn't working.

It makes sense that a public agency whose stated mission is "to protect America from health, safety and security threats, both foreign and in the U.S." would do that research. And yet it cannot, and Congress is trying to keep it that way.

I never thought I'd say this, but we should take People magazine's advice. We need to reach out to our congressional representatives.

It's pretty cool that a magazine like People is encouraging Americans to take action. According to Statista, People reached about 79 million readers in the United States this year. That's a big audience, and it includes readers who might just do something, which would be great. How many more mass shootings are we willing to tolerate?

Finally, someone explains why we all need subtitles

It seems everyone needs subtitles nowadays in order to "hear" the television. This is something that has become more common over the past decade and it's caused people to question if their hearing is going bad or if perhaps actors have gotten lazy with enunciation.

So if you've been wondering if it's just you who needs subtitles in order to watch the latest marathon-worthy show, worry no more. Vox video producer Edward Vega interviewed dialogue editor Austin Olivia Kendrick to get to the bottom of why we can't seem to make out what the actors are saying anymore. It turns out it's technology's fault, and to get to how we got here, Vega and Kendrick took us back in time.

They first explained that way back when movies were first moving from silent film to spoken dialogue, actors had to enunciate and project loudly while speaking directly into a large microphone. If they spoke and moved like actors do today, it would sound almost as if someone were giving a drive-by soliloquy while circling the block. You'd only hear every other sentence or two.

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Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson in 2006.

A startling number of professional athletes face financial hardships after they retire. The big reason is that even though they make a lot of money, the average sports career is relatively short: 3.3 years in the NFL; 4.6 years in the NBA; and 5.6 years in MLB. During that time, athletes often dole out money to friends and family members who helped them along the way and can fall victim to living lavish, unsustainable lifestyles.

After the athlete retires they are likely to earn a lot less money, and if they don’t adjust their spending, they’re in for some serious trouble.

In a candid interview with NFL Hall of Famer and TV personality Shannon Sharpe, Chad Ochocinco (legally Chad Johnson) revealed that he saved 80 to 83% of the $48 million he made in the NFL by faking his lavish lifestyle because it made no sense to him.

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Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

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Family

American mom living in Germany lists postpartum support and women are gobsmacked

“Every video you make gets me closer to actually moving to Germany.”

U.S. mom living in Germany shares postpartum support she received.

Having a baby is not an easy feat no matter which way they come out. The pregnant person is either laboring for hours and then pushing for what feels like even more hours, or they're getting cut from hip to hip to bring about their bundle of joy. (Unless you're one of those lucky—or rather not-so-lucky—folks who get to labor for hours only to still end up in surgery.)

Giving birth is hard and healing afterward can feel dang near impossible, especially given that most states in the U.S. only offer six weeks of maternity leave and it's typically unpaid. But did you know that not everyone has that experience?

A mom who had her first child in the U.S. before meeting her current husband and relocating to Germany is shedding light on postpartum care in her new country. The stark contrast is beyond shocking to women living in the U.S. and she's got a few considering crossing the ocean for a better quality of life.

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Meghan Elinor chimes in on the Starbucks tipping debate.

Tipping culture is rapidly changing in America, so understandably a lot of people aren’t sure what to do when they buy a coffee and the debit card reader asks for a tip. It used to be that people only tipped bartenders, drivers, servers and hairdressers.

Now people are being asked to tip just about any time they encounter a point-of-sale system. There is a big difference between tipping a server who lugged around hot plates of food for an hour-long meal and someone who simply handed you an ice cream cone.

"We're living in an era of inflation, but on top of that, we've got tipping everywhere—tipflation. I take it a step further and call it a tipping invasion. Because that's really what I think it is," etiquette expert Thomas Farley (aka Mister Manners) told CBS 8.

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Pop Culture

One moment in history shot Tracy Chapman to music stardom. Watch it now.

She captivated millions with nothing but her guitar and an iconic voice.

Imagine being in the crowd and hearing "Fast Car" for the first time

While a catchy hook might make a song go viral, very few songs create such a unifying impact that they achieve timeless resonance. Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” is one of those songs.

So much courage and raw honesty is packed into the lyrics, only to be elevated by Chapman’s signature androgynous and soulful voice. Imagine being in the crowd and seeing her as a relatively unknown talent and hearing that song for the first time. Would you instantly recognize that you were witnessing a pivotal moment in musical history?

For concert goers at Wembley Stadium in the late 80s, this was the scenario.

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