Here Are Five Things You Can Do to Fight Gun Violence in America Right Now
Angry tweeting isn't going to solve this.
This weekend, two mass shootings took place within 24 hours of each other. On Saturday, a lone gunman attacked a Wal-Mart in El Paso, Texas, killing 20 people and injuring 26 others. Another shooter attacked a bar in Dayton, Ohio, killing nine people and injuring 27. These vicious attacks bring the mass shooting total up to 251 in 2019 alone. We’re on day 216 of this year, which means there have been more mass shootings than days in 2019.
These senseless acts of violence can leave us horrified and numb as the same facts come to light. These massacres bleed together because they contain all the usual elements that we now know so well: lone white males empowered by alt-right rhetoric online and in the oval office, 8chan manifestos, racism, and easy access to weapons of war. And in the aftermath, we get the same treatment: thoughts and prayers from NRA funded politicians and people screaming for someone to do something, anything to stop what is happening.
Social media is flooded with people calling for change, for gun control, for a reckoning for the hideous racism that is poisoning this country, for adequate mental healthcare, for politicians to give a shit. But how can you sum up your rage and frustration in a tweet? How can it be possible to feel any catharsis from shouting into the desolate canyon of social media?
It can feel beyond disheartening and helpless when tragedies like this happen. But there ways to channel our rage and despair into concrete action towards solving the gun crisis in America. 67 percent of Americans support stricter gun control, and in February the Democratic-led House of Representatives passed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, which extends federal background checks for gun purchases. We the people want a reckoning on gun control. Here are four things we can do to make this a reality right now:
1. Win Back Mitch McConnell’s Senate Seat in Kentucky
Tragic, heartbreaking day in El Paso. When will we have leaders courageous enough to address gun violence in our country? https://t.co/fN1BJo1183
— Amy McGrath (@AmyMcGrathKY) August 4, 2019
Has anyone done more damage to the fabric of our politics than Mitch McConnell? The self described grim reaper of the Senate refuses to allow any votes on any of the democrat-backed bills coming from congress, including the background checks bill that was passed in February. McConnell’s greed and corruption has ground our government to a halt. How is it possible, in our democracy, that one evil little man can wield so much power?
Here’s the good news: despite his connections and status, McConnell is wildly unpopular in his home state, with only 33 percent approval from Kentucky voters. And support for his opponents is rising, like Marine veteran and democratic frontrunner Amy McGrath, who raised $2.5 million in the first 24 hours of her campaign launch.
It will be a challenge to flip a red state like Kentucky, and while Amy McGrath may not be the perfect candidate (no such thing exists) but she’s a hell of a lot better than McConnell.
What you can do:
Help McGrath out by donating money and/or volunteering for her campaign. Because getting Moscow Mitch out of office would literally change this country for the better.
2. Do Everything We Can to Flip the Senate
If you are pissed off. If you are sad. If you are disgusted. If you feel guilty. If you don’t know what to do. If you want to help. PICK. A. SENATE. RACE.
— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) August 3, 2019
Flipping the Senate will be even harder, but there are plenty of groups committed to the cause. If you live in a state with a vulnerable senate seat, get out there and campaign, volunteer, and donate. Arizona, Colorado, Maine, Iowa, North Carolina, Georgia, even Texas is in play.
If you live in a safe state, you can still donate to other states, phone bank, and volunteer from wherever you are. Flipping the Senate is a tall order, but the Republicans only hold a majority by 3 seats. Until we have a democratic majority in both houses, we will not be able to make meaningful gun legislation happen.
What you can do:
3. Join a Gun Violence Advocacy Group
— Ike Ejiochi (@IkeEjiochi) August 4, 2019
If you’re feeling isolated and helpless in the midst of all this, you’re not alone. After all, you’re only one person … what can you do to fight this massive problem? Good News: there are plenty of like-minded people who feel the same way that you do, and plenty of advocacy groups to channel your energy into. One voice doesn’t make a lot of noise, but you can bet that thousands do. Find community and direction with the local chapter of the advocacy group of your choosing.
What you can do:
Here are some great groups to look into: Everytown for Gun Safety and their offshoot Moms Demand Action, The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence are great places to start.
4. Call Your Senators … And Don’t Stop Calling
It's been over 100 days since the U.S. House passed #HR8, a bipartisan bill to update background checks. It is past time the Senate do its part and pass gun safety legislation to close the dangerous loopholes in federal law.
— Moms Demand Action (@MomsDemand) June 20, 2019
What you can do:
If your Senator is a Republican, make sure that they know how you feel about gun violence. Call, write letters, flood their office with demands to address the issue. Make their life hard until you can vote them out. Protest them at town halls and public appearances. Shaming can be an effective tool, don’t be afraid to use it.
5. Vote Donald Trump Out of Office in 2020
If this does not fill you with rage and disgust then you are part of the problem. Now we must act. We must vote out Trump and the merchants of hate and death and actively support those who will produce major, sweeping change. https://t.co/XJEqCNyrJJ
— David Rothkopf (@djrothkopf) August 4, 2019
There are no shortage of reasons to vote this orange monster out of office. 2020 may seem like a long way away, but support the candidates you like, stay educated on the issues, and put your weight behind the nominee. Even if you dislike them. Even if your fav didn’t win the nomination. Anything is better than this.
What you can do:
For the love of all that is holy, register to vote, double-check your registration, and vote for the Democratic candidate in 2020.
This will not be easy, but we have to try. Share your thoughts, feelings, favorite advocacy groups, and self-care advice in the comments.
(via CNN, image: Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
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