I have been avoiding updating this post. It should’ve been posted on Monday, but I couldn’t go there yet. I am so exhausted of being angry, and I’ve spent hours on this post, tweaking wording when I should’ve just hit “publish.”
I originally wrote this post after the Las Vegas shooting in October of 2017. It was the first time I have ever attempted to touch a subject that could be considered “political” with a 10 foot pole. (Of course, I’ve gotten much braver since then. ?) But TWO YEARS AGO? How has nothing changed?
Want to know the kind of blog posts I update regularly? Book review posts, Real Women Approved posts, Life posts, Packing lists.
New one to add to the list? The gun control post.
I guess the only thing that has changed since 2017 is that now when I get an alert about a mass shooting, it has significantly less shock value. Another day, another shooting. Welcome to the land of the free.
So, I’m updating this post today to include two things:
How to help victims of the most recent mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso, and also, a reminder on how we can all collectively take action to help make this world a safer place.
But first, my take:
I’ve never gotten political on this blog, and I don’t consider myself to be an overly political person. (This sentence was written in 2017. A lot has changed but it felt odd to remove it. ?)
GG is a place that brings together people of all backgrounds and beliefs. A safe place where you go to escape the craziness that is happening in the world and where you know someone else’s point of view won’t be shoved down your throat. (Unless it’s on which striped turtleneck is the best or how to tie your scarf, and then–you know–obviously I have opinions.)
Believe it or not, that’s intentional. Keeping things lighthearted, cheerful, and funny is part of my brand.
But there has been a bit of a shift. There are a lot of scary things happening in this country and I am fortunate enough to have the ears of many women who can make a difference if given the tools to do so.
I have built up this amazing community of readers–smart, driven, creative women, whom I dearly love and respect. So many of you I haven’t met, but I truly feel like you’re a friend. And for reasons I still cannot fathom, you come to my site for daily inspiration. I can’t put into words how rewarding it is to be able to create content for you on a regular basis.
Aside from marrying the most amazing man I’ve ever met (life accomplishment #1) I consider this to be the thing I am most proud of in my life.
With that being said, it’s getting harder and harder to write about things like cute outfits, shampoo, and how to wear over the knee boots–when there is so much that is happening in our own back yard that demands action.
This is bad
And sure, I can turn a blind eye, choose to keep important issues off my blog because I’m scared it will offend you, and in turn, only focus on the fluff that is fun.
But if I died tomorrow knowing I had the ears of all of you–thousands of you–and chose to do absolutely nothing with it but talk about some clothes? That is just not something I’m okay with. So let’s rip off the band-aid already and dive into this discussion.
First of all, this is not about Democrats vs. Republicans:
This isn’t about sides. It isn’t about liberals or conservatives or who you voted for in the election or about pushing anyone else’s agenda (or even my own!)
It’s about the goal we all have in common: we want to make this world–and America in particular, a safer, better place for everyone involved.
I love this country. Let’s call a spade a spade–I am a poster child of American freedom–I mean, I literally MADE UP my job. I post photos of myself in–let’s be honest–super basic stylish clothing for a living, which allows me to live in a cool city and buy organic vegetables. I pay an arm and a leg for my healthcare but hey–I love my doctor and she’s pretty damn good at her job. As I’ve grown up, I’ve gone to school with friends from other cities and countries, from different socioeconomic backgrounds, with different religions and who spoke different languages, and my parents taught me that people who are different than me offer new and interesting perspectives on life that make me a better person.
Because I have experienced it firsthand, I wholeheartedly believe that this is still the land of opportunity, and that despite what you see on TV, that there are still a ton of good people in this country with good intentions, who believe in equality and freedom for everyone regardless of their skin color, age, gender, where they were born or who their parents are.
Yes. You get it. I still think this country is great. But I cannot say that I am proud to be an American right now.
Right now, America needs to wake. up.
How to take action instead of just posting graphics on Instagram:
I’m sick of seeing people posting things like “PRAY FOR [Insert the mass shooting of the day]” on social media. I understand the good intentions behind it, but good intentions do not change legislation.
Don’t just “pray for El Paso, Dayton, Vegas, Parkland, whatever city is affected next week.” Stop just “sending positive thoughts” and “hoping for change.”
In the time it takes to craft that Instagram post to show your solidarity, you could’ve actually done something that can help evoke a real step in the right direction. A step that might just save your kid or my kid someday.
Because the sad truth of the matter is this: change is on us. Our government isn’t going to change itself. We also have a hand in the future of our country.
Thoughts alone don’t initiate change, and prayers alone don’t save lives–but action does.
Let’s talk about that word, “action”–that sounds kind of daunting, right? Whenever I heard this phrase before, I equated it to, say, flying to D.C. to participate in a protest, or volunteering with an organization that was going to take 15 hours out of my week. That’s a lot to chew on, you know?
Furthermore, it’s really easy to get caught up in feeling like just another number. You’re one little person. How is anything you can do going to make a difference? How can your one voice possibly scream louder anyone else’s?
But here’s what I’ve realized–making a difference doesn’t have to mean uprooting your life to dedicate to a cause. You don’t have to post anything publicly if you don’t want to. And there isn’t a minimum time commitment on what constitutes “taking an action.”
Here are a few places to start:
Donate to victims:
Whenever there is a mass shooting, there are several websites (CNN, CNBC, smaller non-profit sites, etc) that will always come out with a list how you can donate directly to those affected–just google, “how to help victims of ____” and you’ll find several resources.
It is BEYOND tragic that I even typed that sentence. It is disgusting that I have to give tips on how to do this in the future, but it felt necessary.
Today, you can go to Public Good and see their landing page on different ways you can donate to those affected in El Paso and Dayton.
Donate to Everytown:
The Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund is an independent, non-partisan 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to understanding and reducing gun violence in America. This is the organization that I personally donate to on a recurring basis, and you can do the same on this page. You can also be on their contact list so you can be in the know about new opportunities and ways you can get involved and make a difference.
Learn more about the issues:
Again, Everytown is an amazing resource here. They have a whole page right here where you can learn about different issues, how to reduce gun violence, and how their efforts are currently paying off. I very much appreciate that the information is laid out in ways that anyone can actually understand and comprehend quickly.
Get vocal and contact your representatives:
Use Resistbot: take two minutes to text “RESIST” to 50409. Type out any message you’d like to send to your representatives–about anything! The service looks up your representative’s contact information and converts your message into a fax. The process takes just minutes. You can also use Resistbot to generate a tweet or FB message that does the same.
Use the Everytown contact form: It takes two seconds to use the form on this page.
Sign this petition if you support an assault weapons ban.
Unite on common ground:
Here’s something else we can do–stop arguing for the sake of arguing.
There are people on both sides of gun control, it is a complicated issue, and guess what? BOTH sides have valid arguments! We need to work together and unite on common ground if we want to get ANYTHING accomplished.
And for the record, no, I am not simply assuming that all of the mass shooting tragedies (2,178 of them since Sandy Hook, according to Vox) would’ve been prevented by stricter gun laws.
But would tightened gun regulations have prevented a significant chunk of them? Would this have saved a lot of lives? It’s highly likely.
I think we can all probably say that with confidence–regardless of which party you belong to–that an average citizen has no need to buy a machine solely designed for mass-murder, period.
I also think it’s important to address the elephant in the room: Mass shootings are absolutely horrific. The fact that we’re scared to attend any large public gathering is tragic. But the mass shooting issue is just the tip of the iceberg–representing only about 2% of all gun-related deaths in the US–the remaining large majority being homicides and suicides. (Source).
This is an issue that needs to be attacked from so many angles, but ANY action forward right now is a step in the right direction. There is so much that we can agree on, but people are shouting so loudly that they can’t hear how much they have in common. That being said, two things I think are important to keep in mind:
YES. It is actually possible to support the second amendment and tightened gun laws at the same time. Do not automatically assume the person opposing your view on the subject has nothing in common with you.
YES. We are all aware that “limiting access to guns won’t stop all the bad guys.” Of course not. But making it harder for certain assault-style weapons to fall into the hands of the wrong people, or limiting the number of guns one person can legally obtain will certainly be a good start.
Let’s unite on something that we can all agree on: We all want our children to be safe. Let’s work together to get there. We are ALL on the same team.
Whatever you do, I hope this post motivates you to take action–on this–or anything that you care about, today.