A Personal Note

By Alessandra Olanow

This weekend, our family went to upstate New York. We went hiking. We pushed the boys on a tree swing. We roasted s’mores. It was so nice to take deep breaths of country air. Life felt sweet and simple.

But after we returned home on Sunday, we of course heard the news. Along with devastating earthquakes, hurricanes, fires, Charlottesville, Barcelona, violence and unrest this fall comes this shooting in Las Vegas. Honestly, it’s hard to know what to say. What does one say? I wish I could offer something reassuring; or list ways we could stop this and fix everything. As a parent, I wish I knew how to protect my children and keep them safe, for sure, without a shadow of a doubt. But how?

How are you feeling? Sending so much love to everyone who was directly affected; and those in grief today. Here are ways to help — including giving blood, no matter where you live, and pushing for common sense gun control laws.

Again, sending a big hug to everyone; we won’t be publishing our usual posts today. Please let us know if you have other ideas of how to help, or think about these events. xoxo

(Illustration by Alessandra Olanow.)

  1. last week i made my representative calls, wrote my letters, and felt disgust and sadness. while, sadly, really not being surprised.

    i stayed at mandalay bay the weekend before and attended a concert in the same space as the shooting.

    all that said, what really hit me the most was visiting my brother’s family in Nebraska for my nephew’s 6th birthday over the weekend. he just started Kindergarten this year and had his first “code red” drill in case a “bad person comes to the school.” when my SIL told me about it I was so sad and scared for my little nephew. just writing this brings tears to my eyes.

    our little kids are going to grow up thinking this is normal. it breaks my heart.

  2. Beth says...

    I grew up in the USA but I am am Australian and have lived down under for a long time now.
    I say this out of love for the USA, a country I adore. No one needs to protect themselves with semi automatic guns and no ones rights are infringed with background checks.
    In 1996 our conservative Prime Minister banned guns (some exceptions exist) following a massacre killing 17 people. We have never had a mass shooting since ( there were 17 in the previous 18 years) suicide and homicide rates decreased by 50-60%.
    Of course crime still exists as does mental illness, but these are facts.
    Since the ban both major political parties have seen the results and support the ban continuing.
    I travel to the USA now in fear, that is not an exaggeration. our country on the whole looks on with your lack of gun control in absolute horror and it’s a subject reported and discussed widely. .
    Even if some gun control is adopted that prevents the loss of even one innocent life, isn’t that worth it?
    Unless your country acts this will happen again. And again . And again….. I wish that were not the truth.

    • BLG says...

      In a world gone mad, I will take Australia’s common sense reaction to violence any day over the NRA and the 2nd Amendment. No one needs a weapon like those used in the Vegas attack. And it certainly should not be so easy to modify a weapon. If we don’t sit up and take action now, this will only continue to happen.
      I am trying to understand the other side of this argument, but find it to be a very difficult thing to understand. I’m not trying to be naive or unrealistic, just feel this issue has gotten to the point where change is the only answer.

  3. Susan says...

    It is never comfortable expressing a view in a forum in which yours is a minority opinion. Let me lay it on the table: I am an NRA member and have been for years. I am also a mother of seven and grandmother of many more. I consider myself, and think others would consider me, a loving, kind and giving person.

    I did not grow up in a home with guns or where guns were discussed. In the Jewish enclave in which I grew up no one hunted. Guns belonged in cowboy movies and on signs and billboards found around the large city where I lived that said, “Use a gun, go to jail.” Those signs had no relevance to anyone I knew.

    After studying both sides of the issue and after some first-hand life experience, I became a Second Amendment supporter. If I may say, very few people who agitate for gun control take the time to meet, talk to and understand those of us who are wary of it. There are corrupt politicians on both sides of the issue who see this topic as an avenue to power; there are opportunities for money on both sides of the issue. There are perverted ideologues on both sides of the issue such as the fired attorney for CBS who said that the she had no sympathy for the people who died in Las Vegas because they were probably “Republican gun-toters.” I’m sure you can find her mirror image on the other side. But when it comes to real people, everyone shudders and mourns not only when mass shootings take place but when smaller numbers are affected. Everyone wants all types of carnage to stop.

    The art of conversation and debate is dying in our society. There is a lot of shouting and very little listening. The bias of most media outlets is growing more propagandist and each side on many issues only sees data that has been manipulated and studies that have been picked to support its already established views. Sometimes a token “opposing view” is thrown in which is either so wishy-washy or so ridiculous that it just confirms previous biases. That isn’t healthy.

    The NRA is not a “thing.” It is made up of many Americans, and increasingly women, who see gun ownership as the only way they can protect themselves and those they love from attack rape, and/or murder. They include women who have been told by police that the police cannot come in time to help them so that they need to be ready to defend themselves. One NRA magazine has a column called The Armed Citizen that gathers reports from newspapers around the country about people, old and young, handicapped and able-bodied defending themselves. These reports don’t make national news outlets.

    Others who support the Second Amendment do so because of a study of history and what happened to societies that imposed gun control. Other supporters have different reasons. America is a huge country and what is true and necessary for one area is often the opposite of what is true and necessary for another region.

    As I see it, based on many examples, the political debate is not about “common sense gun laws.” The political debate is about more extremist positions where any concessions of second amendment rights will become a step in the road to a very bad final stage.

    Real people, however, can meet in the middle. We share the bottom line, “What can we do to make things better.” The first step is acknowledging that those on the other side of the issue are good, sincere and knowledgeable people who might have something to teach you. This website skews towards one group of women. Other websites skew differently. Imagine how much more good we could actually achieve if we respected each other, shared our views and stopped seeing those who disagree with us as evil, warped or stupid.

    • Lindsey says...

      Thank you for sharing this. I love your dialogue on this and agree whole heartedly. I feel the same, and also want to know how we CAN bring common sense gun laws to the forefront. Best to you.

    • Anna says...

      Thank you for this comment. You articulated exactly how I feel.

    • Emily says...

      No one carrying a gun at this concert could have protected themselves against this shooting that took place from the top of a hotel. No one needs to protect themselves with a semi-automatic or automatic weapon. It’s too much. I agree that too many of us live in a vacuum and fail to discourse with those with opposing views. But, there is no argument that can convince me that military-grade weapons are appropriate in the hands of civilians. Sorry.

    • Dana says...

      Susan, personally, when I talk about gun control, I’m not thinking of the responsible owner who has a gun to protect themselves or their family, I’m thinking about people who want to gain access to assault riffles, high capacity magazines, or items that help them modify a gun to make it deadlier, allowing for the kind of tragedy we saw happen in Las Vegas this week. Maybe this incident wasn’t preventable, but surely we could have done something to lessen the number of victims. He was able to shoot 500 plus people! It’s dizzying to think of the number of families that were affected by just one man.

      In my experience, many gun owners want to shut down any kind of discourse surrounding gun control lest it allows for a slippery slope of restrictions surrounding ownership and use, but let’s meet in the middle as you say! As a gun owner and gun enthusiast, what would you say are common sense restrictions we should be fighting for so something like the mass shooting in Las Vegas (or Sandy Hook or Charleston or Orlando….) never happens again.

    • Daisy says...

      I still don’t how owning a gun could guarantee that one will be saved from a rape or from a murder attempt. How do people in other developed Countries protect themselves from attempted rape/murder by owning a gun? A gun owning person combined with rage leads to a carnage for sure. Why should it be legal for anyone to buy however many guns they want to buy/ automatic weapons? Why has research on gun violence been stopped since the 90’s. At what point are we going to say enough is enough?

    • Allison says...

      Susan, could you please clarify what you mean by, “Others who support the Second Amendment do so because of a study of history and what happened to societies that imposed gun control.” (Obviously I disagree with taking the second amendment out of context, I assume you aren’t in a militia, let alone one that’s needed for government stability or accountability, but we’ll let that slide.) What history are you referencing? Honest question, I’m not familiar with any historical data showing negatives outcomes of gun control. (Of course there is historical data of negatives outcomes of making guns illegal for citizens to own in militarized governments, but the militarized government is a meaningful variable in that equation, one can’t logically attribute the negative outcome to only one. Also, “gun control” doesn’t mean “make guns illegal”.) Worth noting, I’m very into data and statistics. In my view, the best way to remove argument from opinion and passion is to look at the facts. The facts I’m aware of are the reduction in homicide rate after increased gun control in Australia, among others.

    • Samantha says...

      This is the post that I was looking for. People ignore that there are gun restrictions but you can still purchase guns illegally. Banning guns makes as much sense as prohibiting drugs or abortion. People will still find a way to get them. Taking guns away from civilians will just take their protection from criminals away. There are already laws against murder and people still kill each other. What about the bus attack in France? About 88 people were murdered, should they ban busses now? I totally understand where you’re coming from and thank you for actually expressing how you feel in behalf of us with more conservative views. God bless.

    • Thank you so much for this intelligent and truthful comment. I have known many people throughout my life who are NRA members (including my father and brother) and they are some of the kindest, most gentle people I know. (In fact, the NRA has MILLIONS of members who are just like them.) I have even considered myself joining because I hold the liberty of defending myself and my family so dear and do not want this freedom to be eliminated because of evil in the world that will always exist no matter what laws we pass. There is so much more I can say here, but I just want to add my voice in support of the 2nd Amendment. (For the record, I am a female millennial living in Southern California. Yes, we exist.)

    • Chandra says...

      You did all this explaining which has nothing to do with the fact that assault rifles have no place in civilian hands. Nothing about the “political debate” has anything to do with “taking your guns away.” It’s sad we even have to say that because people are so attached to their weapons. Writing that is even laughable– like what are you afraid of??? Your founding fathers who crafted the second amendment didn’t have running water. Their “arms” were rifles and muskets– far removed from the military machinery used to commit mass terror across our country. We as a nation ended the gun control convo after Sandy Hook though and so enjoy your guns. The fact of the matter is “those of us who agitate for gun control,” don’t care about your reasons for owning a gun and wanting to protect yourself from whatever irrational fear you have or otherwise. We don’t care to spend our time understanding you, because we’re busy living our lives. We care about why you don’t see the clear danger with empowering civilians with military assault rifles and are angry that you all continue to support an organization which shields itself by making financial contributions to politicians and private organizations which legislate for lax gun laws. What more needs to be said? What else will it take for our nation to decide we’ve had enough? There should be no more dialogue, only action.

    • Susan says...

      Emily, military grade weapons are illegal already. You are right that this particular incident wouldn’t have been stopped by citizens with guns. But that isn’t true for other mass killings.

    • Susan says...

      Daisy, nothing can “guarantee” to stop a rapist or murderer. That is a sad fact of life. Evil exists. But there is also no question that many acts of violence have been stopped by good people with guns.

    • Susan says...

      Allison, Dana and everyone else who replied – thank you for allowing a dialogue. I am not an expert; this isn’t my field. But I know a few things. Among them are that Nazi Germany imposed gun control and one result was that people who opposed the regime were left defenseless. Stalin’s Russia did the same, I believe. Governments can go bad and an armed citizenry is a protection against that.
      In looking at other countries, we need to compare culture and many other pieces of data. We can talk about Australia, but we also need to talk about Switzerland which has widespread gun ownership. You can’t pick and choose to support whatever position you have.
      My last comment, because what I am really suggesting is that anyone who cares about this issue needs to educate themselves by reading opposing opinions, facts and arguments (what used to be an expected thing to do before a debate) is that one problem is that there is not a clear cut definition of “automatic” or “semi-automatic” weapon or “common sense.” Politicians have held press conferences and held up illegal weapons arguing that they must be banned when they already are. We need to demand a true debate rather than assuming that anything we hear is accurate and certainly not that this is a simple issue.

  4. Laura says...

    Thanks Joanna. Lots of love from the sad Barcelona.

  5. This is SO important. I’m from England and I don’t understand why the US still has such lax gun laws… I remember watching a video where undercover cops tried buying guns over the phone, clearly stating that they had a criminal record and the majority of dealers just said that it didn’t matter and to not tell anyone that they had sold it to them!!! Awful!

  6. Michelle Carr says...

    Thank you.

    I live in Vegas. The violence that happened is absolute nonsense. I have tried to wrap my mind around it. Not possible.

    However the stuff that makes sense is the goodness that has followed. Every single charity group and blood bank reached CAPACITY within hours.

    Goodness will always trump evil.


    Sending condolences to all those involved.

  7. Steph O says...

    Thank you for talking about this. I’ve steadily unfollowed multiple blogs that have ignored the scary things happening around us and instead post about their privileged lives with total lack of awareness. I have stuck with your blog in large part because you’ve shown a bit of moral courage in taking a stance. I can’t believe that saying “maybe someone shouldn’t be able to buy enough guns to kill 59 people in minutes” is now an act of moral courage, but here we are. Keep on keeping on. This whole thing has fired me up and I’m no longer keeping quiet to avoid confrontation and conflict. I’m now unapologetically advocating for a safer, better country for my children.

    • Aneta says...

      Yes!! It’s absolutely petrifying that we have to tip-toe around the subject. And it makes me livid when I read mothers (!!!) defending gun ownership on grounds of needing to protect themselves and their children from rape and assault. If we live in a country where we need automatic weapons to protect ourselves than perhaps we have far greater problems to address than the defence of the 2nd Amendment…

      I also share your view on unfollowing bloggers who ignore these issues and post photos of their outfits and snapshots of holiday spots on days when the world is in mourning. Appalling.

  8. Claire says...

    For the life of me, I can’t understand why passing common sense gun laws are so difficult. I live in Texas and you can’t even bring up gun control with out people accusing you of trying to take away their guns. My oldest is four, and they do lock down drills at his preschool. It makes me sick with worry that he is even taught how to prepare for something like that, like it’s an inevitability.

    The whole thing is terrible. How is someone who does this not crazy? There are so many issues to address and everybody just gets mad and then nothing happens. I don’t know how it’s going to change.

  9. Daisy says...

    This was a great post. What is your take on kids playing with toy guns. I was offended that a parent wanted to use gun as a prop for a kid’s dance and when I pointed that out to her and indicated given the recent gun violence, it is really inappropriate. She didn’t seem to think so and none of the other parents also voiced their opinion. Her take was we let swords/ knives to be used in plays/skits, so why not guns. I don’t have any answers and appalled.

    • Steph O says...

      This is a question that we wrestle with at the parent run preschool my daughter attends. If a child wants to play pretend gun, we ask a few questions (“what comes out of the gun?” Is always a really good one – most of the time kids say bubbles or rainbows!) and quickly set up a structured play plan for the children who want to play gun. No adult there would ever hand a child a toy gun and encourage that, though! It’s always child initiated. I bet other parents agreed with you but didn’t have the courage to speak up. Personally, I think you did the right thing.

    • Daisy says...

      Thank you Stephanie. Given how sensitive everyone is due to gun violence and after seeing news about kids with toys guns being shot, I am also worried about kids running around with toy guns in a public setting and the trouble they might be getting into. Maybe I am overthinking. But better to be safer than sorry.

    • shade says...

      I took my 4 yr old to the children’s museum this weekend and actually witnessed a father pretending to get shot by his 3 yr old son who was playing WITH A TELESCOPE! Why on earth did this dad instigate such stupidity with an innocent object meant for exploration and discovery?
      I couldn’t figure out if my horror was an overreaction at the time, but now reading through this post and passionate reader comments, I think I was probably not alone in my horror and disgust at that moment.

  10. Thank you for posting this. We had a pretty nice weekend, too, and waking up to that notification on Monday morning about Las Vegas made my stomach turn.
    For me the hardest part is that we have to convince others why it’s worthwhile to enact commonsense gun laws. In my mind, it should be no question. People are dying, being massacred, and yet we still allow people to legally purchase a machine gun, and as many military style weapons as they choose. How is that right worth so many lives? I would hope people would be willing to sacrifice this notion that they “need” guns because so many children, men and women have been senselessly murdered just this year alone. I worry about having kids and sending them out into the world. Surely they will want to go to concerts, like I did. But these days this is where people are being killed. Must it always be a gamble when you step out your door? It is, but we can make it not be, you know? Sorry for the long comment I am at a loss, and just so thankful that you open this dialogue on your website, Joanna.

  11. edie says...

    I think it’s worth noting that while states (such as Nevada) may allow folks to own NFA items (such as machine guns) federal law supersedes state-level.

    Someone could legally own a machine gun in Nevada, but only after its been registered and stamped in compliance with federal laws and regulations. I’m confused how this individual was able to acquire so much without setting off alarms on the federal level.

    Fully automatic weapons are already so highly regulated under (both) federal and state law. just my thoughts. such a horrible event.

  12. sylvia says...

    A friend reminded me of this poem, which feels increasingly fitting:
    Good Bones
    Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
    Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
    in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
    a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
    I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
    fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
    estimate, though I keep this from my children.
    For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
    For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
    sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
    is at least half terrible, and for every kind
    stranger, there is one who would break you,
    though I keep this from my children. I am trying
    to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
    walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
    about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
    right? You could make this place beautiful.

    • Love this, thank you for sharing.

    • Melissa says...

      This gave me chills

    • This.

    • Sarah says...

      Beautiful and made me tear up. Thank you

  13. Unfortunately, we are living in a very real science fiction story—where mass violence occurs and people go on with their daily lives—and I am not sure that it ends well…

  14. Yasmin says...

    I’m glad you acknowledged this horrible act of violence in Las Vegas, but why haven’t you posted anything specifically about the ongoing humanitarian crisis affecting Puerto Rico?

    I normally find your blog to be conscientious to current events, but I am disappointed by your deafening silence on this issue.

    • We can’t expect her to be everything for everybody all the time. That’s impossible. She’s just one person, and a very fine one at that.

    • If she posted about EVERYTHING horrible going on at any given moment, especially this past year, she’d never post about anything else. Perhaps let’s celebrate her (many) efforts, while also being a daily bright spot to so many of us.

    • Yasmin says...

      Forgive me if I’m a bit emotional about this subject, because my family is directly affected by Hurricane Maria, but your responses seem rather dismissive of the tragedy the is currently unfolding. This blog acknowledged ways to help victims of Hurricane Harvey, and I would simply like to see reciprocal treatment for Puerto Rico, which is also part of the United States. This blog is such a wonderful platform to connect with people from all around the world, and a simple link to guide readers on how they can donate to relief efforts could offer so much help to people who truly need it.

  15. I knew to expect a kind and empathetic post from you; thank you for this. I really appreciate the link to the Everytown website.

    Last week my 9-year-old said that there had been a lockdown drill at school. I was surprised but grateful; unfortunately, this is the reality of our world today. My 6-year-old is so sweetly innocent; I try to keep explanations brief and age-appropriate for her; if we as parents don’t dole out information, our kids will hear it from someone else. That said, how do any of us send our kids to school and entrust that they will be entirely safe? I’m sure I’m not alone in that fear.

    I found a site called which lists various petitions including one for that calls for tighter restrictions on gun control. It’s way too easy for people to obtain guns; my teenage daughter had to jump through more hoops to get her learners permit and drivers license.

    I hope that, soon, enough will be enough. Why is it still so easy for people to obtain guns that they don’t need?

  16. Julia says...

    I’m very impressed by the words that Jimmy Kimmel found!

    • Lauren, this article has some great tips. Thank you for sharing. I’ve bookmarked it.

  17. Allie says...

    I feel like it bears mentioning that just because someone is antisocial or “different” doesn’t make them a danger to society, and just because the media is promoting this idea that “antisocial people are dangerous” it doesn’t mean we have to buy into it. 99% of antisocial people are completely harmless introverts with some combination of anxiety, increased self-consciousness, and a low tolerance for interpersonal drama. Antisocial is not an indication that someone is mentally unbalanced, and neither is wearing non trendy clothes or liking music that you don’t. Classifying people as possible domestic terrorists because they would rather listen to death metal than manufactured pop music that is completely devoid of anything resembling intelligence, or would rather wear a black band shirt than participate in superficial trends, or would rather read a book than attempt to make friends with drama llamas who probably dislike them to begin with, is harassment.

    Sincerely, an antisocial introvert who was actually put on a school watch list because a bunch of ignorant bullies stereotyped her as a potential shooter. Accusers got off scot free and I never received an apology from the school for harassing me and my parents with such an unspeakably offensive accusation.

    • Eve says...

      Allie, totally agree – but I think what the media is referring to (although not explaining it well clearly!) is what is referred to as antisocial personality disorder, which is a bad name for it because it actually has nothing to do with being antisocial. It has to do with not feeling empathy, having a pattern of manipulating others, and engaging in ruthless acts without feelings of guilt or regret. Hope that helps lighten any heaviness you might feel by thinking that being antisocial (or introverted or any version of that!) is necessarily bad.

  18. Esther says...

    Dear Joanna,
    I am concerned by the fact that we mix deliberate violance with the proteccion of people’s rights. What happened in Catalonia is a very complex matter.
    Media tend to simplifly conflicts in order to gain audience. The truth is that everyone in Spain is loosing in this battle. The polititians has managed to divide an entire country which seems now unable to solve this matter without violence.
    Yesterday (monday), hundreds of policemen where thrown away from hotels, today there are riots everywhere…
    Regretfuly, violence (not only physical but also verbal) is being used bothsides. But there is a side of the story untold.
    This is the story of a broken brotherhood and we will soon forget why we have broken it.

    • I think she was talking about the terror attack over the summer on Las Ramblas, not the current unrest, which, as you say, is a much more nuanced and complicated issue.

    • Rocio says...

      I’m so sad people’ s thinks of Spain. Confrontation is going too far for our country.

  19. troneais says...

    Earthquakes, hurricane y fires are natural violence
    Help casualties
    Cry with families
    I don´t know what EEUU would do if one of the state goverment say : we won´t to obey law nor declaration of independence of the united states
    But they aren’t the same problem and the violence is different.

    • Annie says...

      Thanks for sharing! I enjoyed the hope in this article.

  20. Jill says...

    I read one comment about not saying anything about this in front of your children. As a mom of two boys, 9 and 2, I am struggling to know how to approach all of these events with my older. Could you do a post on talking (or not talking) to children when tragedy in the world occurs, perhaps with some child psych experts?

    Thank you for a smart, thoughtful, relevant blog and specifically post today.

    • Lena says...

      I agree with you Jill, I am so conflicted as to what to tell my six-year-old son. I started turning off NPR this year when he is in the car with me because I just can’t explain any of this to him…or to myself.

    • Anna says...

      As a teacher and a parent, I can tell you with absolute certainty that your children know about current events. If they do not talk about these issues with you, they will get their information from other (often questionable) sources.

    • Sasha says...

      A blog post about talking to children would be so helpful.

      My children were almost 3 & almost 5 when the 9.11 tragedy happened. They didn’t know about it for many years. I turned off the tv, and was always careful about what they over heard from adults (my own mom didn’t protect me from anything).

      They have told me as adults now, that they are grateful for an innocent childhood. I am grateful that i am not raising small children right now. The media is so much more pervasive.

  21. Taylor says...

    Honestly I’ve been a mess of emotions all day. This one just hit SO close to home and my heart. I had gone to be early and had a tickle in my nose so I was up sneezing and decided to look at my phone which had a text that said something about a friends sister being at the concert where their was a shooting. I then was up until about 2am pacific time watching it unfold. The videos are dramatic. And in a crowd of thousands I actually knew hundreds of people in attendance. I desperately made sure all of my Vegas and SoCal friends were okay. I’m fortunate that my personal friends were okay, but friends of friends have not been so lucky. Countless stories of deaths and injuries are on my Facebook. After returning a week ago from a trip to Europe where I was a little on guard at all times, and end up having a beautiful, wonderful, and safe trip…to come home to this happening to friends.
    Since November I have just felt terrible, I just want change and I want it now.

  22. jenn says...

    I feel the need to comment, but I am from north of your border. A Canadian above metioned she was not horrified this morning when seeing the news. But I have to say for myself and family and friends it was exactly that. I actually didn’t think what I saw load on my computer was real. The iconic nature of the las vegas strip and the millions of people who go there for fun and laughs and memories, seems to make it so hard to fathom.
    I do wonder why a normal joe blo can obtain these types of weapons. I am genuinely confused, what other use they would have other than to kill many. This is not your hunters choice of gun, right?! Refusing civilains access to these kind of weapons may not end all violence but surely the death toll and injured list would be less than 600?? Wouldn’t it be a step? if even a baby step?
    I can’t comment on much to do with gun laws as my knowledge of the topic is limited and I do know we have had violence too. But as a Canadian citizen, I have never thought about needing a weapon for self defence etc because I know that most people do not possess a weapon either. It is amazing how there is less to fear when you don’t believe you have something to fear in the first place.
    I always love this quote of Mother Teresa “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” So to all of you, let us start there. xo
    Love to all the victims and bystanders and families and emergency personal and to us, the people.

  23. BLG says...

    If only Hillary Clinton had been elected, this may never have happened. Tops on her agenda would have been enacting stricter gun laws/policies. I agree with Molly’s post earlier who also mentioned mental health issues being part of the problem. I am in the middle of Clinton’s book and her views about gun violence, especially towards children, show the tough stance she would have taken.
    I really do feel that in the end, Trump’s only legacy as President will be that he infected our society with his toxic, disturbing and sickening views.

    • jules says...

      I wish that was the world we live in, but this is not reality-based. Do you think she would have been able to get those laws passed that quickly? Gun and ammo sales have actually gone DOWN under Trump, Obama was the best thing that ever happened to those industries. Unpacking this is WAY more complex than just changing existing laws. The #$@ is already out there!

    • I completely agree!

    • Kim says...

      I completely disagree..

  24. Jane says...

    From one of your readers in Las Vegas – thank you for the support and also for always standing for justice. As you can imagine, It’s been a helluva day. Many of my friends work on The Strip – myself included. It was a somber day yet there was much hugging, tears, comforting, and praying together in my community.

  25. Natasha says...

    I am Australian & it grieves me that the safety afforded to my child, friends and family due to removal of guns from our society isn’t something that the US government considers essential for Americans. I’m writing this watching my children play in a large grassed area, surrounded by strangers in a busy popular sea side town, safe in the knowledge that no one could possibly have a gun. I wish this protection for all American children and their Mothers. The rights of a few shouldn’t be placed above the safety of all.
    With heartfelt prayer that times will change, Mothers worry enough without this extra burden of concern.

  26. Claudia Baskerville says...

    I live in Las Vegas and am heart broken. From having to speak to our children after they woke up this morning, to checking on many colleagues and friends that are in town for a big industry tradeshow, to having my son come home to tell me that his history teacher told him this is the 9/11 of their generation, it has been a difficult day. My thoughts are with everyone affected.

  27. Jillian says...

    Thank you for this post. I have teared up several times today reading the comments, but it reads me of how much love, grace, respect, and compassion is present amongst this Cup of Jo community.

    This post might be a bit long, but for the dozens of commenters talking about how to talk to your children, what to say to them, how to even begin to explain it, I like to think about what is often of immense comfort to me and relatable/possible for a child to understand: Dumbledore. Harry Potter was the lens through which I think I learned the most about pain, fear, courage, loss, doing the right thing, etc. as a child myself, but even today I found my adult self Googling looking for one specific quote and feeling a wash of peace reading some of these below.

    This would likely only be helpful to a child who is old enough to have read Harry Potter (at which point the conversation might be a bit different), but in any case, and even for those who haven’t read them, I still do love these quotes.

    “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.”
    ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

    “It was important, Dumbledore said, to fight, and fight again, and keep fighting, for only then could evil be kept at bay, though never quite eradicated. . . .” -HP & the Half Blood Prince

    ““I DON’T CARE!” Harry yelled at them, snatching up a lunascope and throwing it into the fireplace. “I’VE HAD ENOUGH, I’VE SEEN ENOUGH, I WANT OUT, I WANT IT TO END, I DON’T CARE ANYMORE!”
    “You do care,” said Dumbledore. He had not flinched or made a single move to stop Harry demolishing his office. His expression was calm, almost detached. “You care so much you feel as though you will bleed to death with the pain of it.” -HP & the Order of the Phoenix

    “Harry, suffering like this proves you are still a man! This pain is part of being human … the fact that you can feel pain like this is your greatest strength.” – HP & The Order of the Phoenix

    “Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right, and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good and kind and brave because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort. Remember Cedric Diggory.” -HP & the Goblet of Fire

    “If I thought I could help you by putting you into an enchanted sleep and allowing you to postpone the moment when you would have to think about what has happened tonight, I would do it. But I know better. Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it.” –HP & The Goblet of Fire

    “I say to you all, once again — in the light of Lord Voldemort’s return, we are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided. Lord Voldemort’s gift for spreading discord and enmity is very great. We can fight it only by showing an equally strong bond of friendship and trust. Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.” -HP & the Goblet of Fire

    and perhaps particularly relevant as we read & speak to each other in the coming days-
    “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.” -HP & the Deathly Hallows

    • I couldn’t agree more. And the time has definitely come to chose what is right instead of what is easy.

  28. jen says...

    I think the only way to protect your children from gun violence is to live in a country with strict gun laws. That isnt America.

  29. Brava! I would have liked to see more places/people/institutions take pause rather than just continuing on as if this is normal. It is not normal.

    • Elham says...


    • Steph O says...

      I agree. I’ve actually stopped following a bunch of bloggers who haven’t had the moral courage to even acknowledge their countrymen’s suffering, let alone take a stance against it. Sorry, not getting my ad dollars by airing your privilege all over blogspot!

  30. Laura says...

    When you call your representatives, you can also urge them to lift restrictions on gun violence research by and funded by CDC. For years CDC has bee blocked from this type of research because the NRA did not like what the research said and lobbied Congress to restrict funding to CDC as well as grants to academic research. After Sandy Hook there was some slight lifting of the limitatations, but there needs to be well-funded research on gun violence as well as development and evaluation of public health prevention and policy. Data matters and the NRA has had a loud and forcible say in what data can be collected with our tax dollars. Enough!

    • Sonia says...

      Yes!! Such an important point!

    • It’s Called the Dickey Ammendment. After the last big shooting a friend and I put together a “repeal the dickey ammendment” campaign for friends and family including: background info, how to reach reps, and a script of what to say on the call.

    • Liz says...

      Yes, thank you!

  31. ceciel says...

    I don’t know what to do anymore. After Sandy Hook, I went a little off the deep end and became an anxious mess. Eventually I channeled that into working with children at a progressive church in the middle of Ohio–we have done programs by Sandy Hook Promise and a national curriculum called Peace Village (I highly recommend both). And after the election, I’ve gotten passionate about politics and getting involved on a local and state level. That still feels like an exclusive club and hard to break in to. And now this. I won’t read a ton about this shooting because it paralyzes me. Instead…?? Push politicians to fight against the NRA. Teach children about the signs of someone who is isolated. What else? Looking for ideas, like so many of you.

  32. Jess says...

    Thank you for posting this, Jo. I rarely post comments on blogs but wanted to let you know how much I appreciate you acknowledging this national tragedy on your platform. As a longtime reader, I have noticed you and your staff make more of an effort to include representation of WOC, to address social justice issues, and to advocate for smart policy changes, and it makes me proud to be a reader of this blog. Thank you for being a smart, empathetic, culturally minded voice in a sphere of women’s publications that too often shy away from talking about the elephant in the room.

    • Tracy says...


  33. justine says...

    I am not American but I follow your politics and your news. It’s hard to watch these days, yet hard to look away. It’s a very scary time. It consumes me sometimes, this concern I have for your country and the impact it has on the world – not to say it isn’t a very scary time in the rest of the world for other reasons. The NRA and Citizens United have too much control. Electoral reform, particularly in the area of campaign finance is not a sexy topic, but it is critical. The one positive thing I can say is that, though the state of the world has made me quite anxious, this blog helps. In particular last week’s story about exercise. It got me to try some online yoga that I loved and motivated me to run twice in two days. It really helps with anxiety. It’s a small thing but it helped my heart and mood, so thank you to the blog and the readership for that.

    • ceciel says...

      Yes to all you’re saying. And especially grateful for the exercise post too.

  34. E Gray says...

    I have been following your blog for a few years and expected to see this posting – I love how you are connected with the larger cultural consciousness. It is very difficult to live in a bubble and we are all effected by what happens around the world. Nevertheless, I try to protect my children from all this bad news, while still processing it myself. My husband and I are shocked by what we hear on the news day by day, but we try to create a life for a children that is peaceful and fun. I am a big fan of Simplicity Parenting and one of the concepts I hear talked about is — protect out children from the chaos of the adult world so that they will have memories of childhood that they will want to protect for their children when they learn how difficult the adult world can be. We need to let children know how wonderful the world can be so they can be stewards for the next generation.

  35. ECH says...

    Our school sent out an email reminding parents that adult news is not something children can or should understand. We’ve been advised to keep our radios and TVs off the news and to refrain from engaging in conversation of recent events in the presence of children. Love to all. XO

  36. Susa says...

    Yesterday we were at our kid’s elementary school letting them run around and play basketball, and my fresh little kindergartner told me about how ‘when we go into lockdown, the yellow people (meaning the playground monitors) have to hide in there’. I asked him what he was suppose to do, and he said they lock the door, close the windows and hide and be quiet. It was hard to hear my sweet five year old discuss this all no-big-deal. We only had earthquake drills at school growing up, not drills to protect us from people trying to kill us with guns while at school. This violence and disrespect for life, how it is changing our existence–its makes it hard to breath.

    • Helen S says...

      My 5 year old tells me about lockdown drills all the time at his school and I get so choked up. I can’t even believe this is the world we live in.

    • Allie says...

      I think the school lockdown drills started after Columbine… I remember doing them in school 15-20 years ago but nobody ever told us kids what the point of the “code blue” drill was, so it consisted of us being very annoyed while the teacher looked scared for no apparent reason… because the teachers weren’t always told in advance that it was just a drill. I don’t know if it’s different now, but adults should at least make some attempt to communicate to the kids that “bad person in the school” is a serious risk and the drills aren’t a game… otherwise kids, being kids, are going to treat it like a game (which we did), and since it’s generally perceived as harmless to break the rules in a game, they’re going to talk and squirm a bunch during the-lockdown-drill-game (which we did) unless someone steps up and tells them that it’s serious (which the involved adults did not). Anyone who sees how cruel kids are to each other should know that “childhood innocence” is a myth, so there’s not much point attempting to “preserve” it by keeping them ignorant of actual danger.

    • brianna says...

      I was a junior in high school when Columbine happened. We had lock down drills from that event forward (that was 1998 or so, if I remember correctly).

  37. It really means a lot to me that this blog consistently and unapologetically acknowledges the real problems in our world when necessary, and doesn’t just continue to post more trivial content on days when our minds need something more. For this reason (among others) you’re one of the few blogs I still check every day. Bravo.

    • Eva says...


    • Jillian says...

      Really beautifully and simply said — I fully, 100% agree, particularly with the “unapologetically” part. I love feeling like we, as readers, can trust Joanna & the Cup of Jo team to share their grief, worry, and concern with us in the same way I imagine we are all doing today with our own friends and loved ones, sans a bunch of apologetic disclaimers. I also know that your words are not written out of a sense of obligation, but out of a genuine and authentic place, albeit one that today is of fear and sadness. Thank you so much, J & Cup of Jo team (and all these commenters/readers), for not only being a light, but a real one.

    • Courtney says...

      Yes, thank you.

  38. Katie says...

    Thank you for this. I just cried at my desk for a sec. I came here to distract myself, and got the truth instead, which is much, much better. I don’t know how to think about this, other than that the world is going mad. So then I try to make it smaller: what can I do, right here, right now? And like so many others have said just try to: love more, love better, love all. So. I just printed off some copies of James Baldwin’s “A Talk to Teachers” to share with colleagues. And, after Charlottesville I decided this year that I needed to teach Anne Frank. So I got that back into our curriculum & posted a Donor’s Choose projects and (so far) have got 95 copies of The Diary of Anne Frank to teach. I posted the project on a Monday night & it was funded by the time I woke up on Tuesday. Those are two things. Doesn’t seem like enough. But something. Figure out something loving to do & do it now. Immediately.

    • You did a wonderful thing, Katie. And I love your advice, “Figure out something loving to do and do it now. Immediately.”

    • Eleanor says...

      “I came here to distract myself, and got the truth instead, which is much, much better.”
      Distraction is exactly what I wanted when I came to Cup of Jo today, and it’s why I often come here – but instead, I get the truth. The gut-wrenching, heartbreaking truth about how awful and hard the world can be, but also the poignant, heartwarming truth about how compassionate and ferociously loving people become in response.
      Thank you, Katie, and thank you to everyone else in this community. You’re doing wonderful things in the face of horrible situations.

    • YES. I love what you did.

    • Sasha says...

      Thank you Katie.

  39. Amy says...

    Thank you, Joanna. As Mr. Rogers says, in a tragedy, look for the helpers. It’s a good starting place for talking about these events with children and works well for calming adults too.

  40. Victoria says...

    I keep alternating from sadness, to anger, to feeling overwhelmed. All I know is this has to stop. I tried to reach The Red Cross and my local blood banks to see if they are collecting blood for Las Vegas. Answer: “No.” and “We’re currently experiencing high call volumes.” It’s feeling like a pint of Ben and Jerry’s kind of day. I’m with Jo. I want my family to feel safe. I want to know my young son is safe. I’m tired of hearing about people using their right to bare arms to take away so many rights from the rest of us (angry). Like our right to gather safely in a public place or festive event (sad). I think there are so many facets to why our country is having these acts of violence. I don’t know how we can crack our way through this problem (overwhelmed). I just keep cycling through these emotions again and again. I wish for change. I know we’re all holding our loved ones close today as well as holding pain in our hearts for all the victim’s families. I wish all of you strength. I wish you safety.

    • Cara says...

      Well said.

  41. Alice says...

    On a personal level: be together, hug the ones you love, cherish life, stop to smell the air and watch the sunset.

    I live in the U.K. where, yes, there is gun crime and guns can be bought, but I simply cannot imagine what it is like living somewhere where it is that easy to obtain a gun. I hope we can change that. I say we because violence, ignorance, frustration, isolation, desperation – they’re all part of humanity and it’s everywhere, this tragedy. And maybe if we also embraced and discussed and shared some people wouldn’t be pushed to do the things they do.

    Sending love – we feel the reverberations of these events across the ocean.

    • Alice says...

      From another Alice, also in the UK- I completely agree with everything you’ve said here. Sending love to everyone- this is horrifying.

    • Coco says...

      I too like Alice don’t live in the US but in Australia. We also are not without our gun crimes and no Australian will or should not ever forget the shooting massacre at Port Arthur in 1996. However incidents such as these are few and far between and I am so thankful that we have tough gun laws in Australia. The right to keep and bear arms is not in Australian constitution and I believe that most of us are truly thankful this. I urge all in the US to stand up for your and your families right to go out in public and enjoy life without the fear that you may injured or killed by a random gunshot. Sadly these types of tragedies are going to continue until something is done about gun control in the US.

  42. C says...

    I really feel at a loss which means our children feel…what do they feel?! How does a little one process such a thing? Here are some ideas that I appreciated. They will hear. We should be the ones to talk with them:
    As well as this imp. reminder:
    ry not to blame mental illness, says Ellen Hendriksen, a psychologist, writing for Quick and Dirty Tips. “Explaining that a shooter was mentally ill equates mental illness and violence, which increases stigma and, for the millions of people struggling with mental illness, reduces a willingness to speak up and get help. In a time when almost every family knows someone struggling with mental illness, you don’t want kids wrongly equating a school shooter with Uncle Rick’s depression or being afraid of the kid with autism down the block.”
    It’s fine, Dr. Hendriksen says, to say that we don’t know why people do these kind of things. Some people do awful, hurtful things—but there are many more good people in the world than bad.

    • ECH says...

      That’s a really good insight! Not to blame mental illness. Thank you.

    • Sarah P. says...

      Thank you, THANK YOU. The percentage of people who suffer from mental illness and are also violent is very, very small. As a sister to someone who had a mental illness, it just means so much to raise awareness that assumptions can be so dangerous.

  43. Sarah K says...

    I think Auden, writing on the eve of WWII when the world watched in helpless horror as another conflagration unfolded, said it better than I ever could, although I tried to with way too many words:

    “All I have is a voice
    To undo the folded lie,
    The romantic lie in the brain
    Of the sensual man-in-the-street
    And the lie of Authority
    Whose buildings grope the sky:
    There is no such thing as the State
    And no one exists alone;
    Hunger allows no choice
    To the citizen or the police;
    We must love one another or die.

    Defenceless under the night
    Our world in stupor lies;
    Yet, dotted everywhere,
    Ironic points of light
    Flash out wherever the Just
    Exchange their messages:
    May I, composed like them
    Of Eros and of dust,
    Beleaguered by the same
    Negation and despair,
    Show an affirming flame.”
    (from “September 1, 1939”)

    • Megan says...

      This is beautiful, thank you.

    • Mallory says...

      Thank you for sharing. I love this so.

  44. Sarah K says...

    It’s unspeakably horrifying and I don’t have answers. I do have questions, which come up any time I hear about another shooting. First, we live in an entertainment culture saturated with images of violence: music, games, movies, tv, etc. Why doesn’t the entertainment industry censor itself and have the integrity to say “we will no longer make money by glorifying violence and offering people the opportunity to act out Tory fantasies”?
    Second, so many shooters seem to have been motivated by a desire to go out in a blaze of glory and make a name for themselves. Why doesn’t the news media simply refuse to cater to that: cover the event, cover the victims, cover the families, etc but resist the temptation to endlessly air the shooter’s life story and picture and make him/her a household name?
    Third, do we really think that stricter gun control and universal health care would totally fix all this? I agree that both gun laws and health care could use improvement. But I don’t think real answers are that easy. Let’s be honest: no amount of legislation can do away with the fact that sometimes people just do evil things without any rational explanation. You could impose a totalitarian state, in which people are forcibly examined and medicated and restrained if mental illness is suspected, and in which only the government possesses weapons of any kind, but then you have to reckon with the (very real) possibility that the government will go power-mad and abuse its authority. I think we should work as hard as we can to prevent evil from happening, but not flatter ourselves that political change will change every human heart. We can create a better society, yes, but not a perfect one. We still will have to love and try to understand one another through brokenness and with compassion.
    And last: I do not at ALL want to lessen the pain of those who have lost loved ones in this tragedy–but I wonder what people in devastated, war-torn countries think of the political hand-wringing that goes on when Americans taste the pain of the violence that they live with every day. Do they think we care more about our suffering than theirs? Do we think we are better and deserve better? It’s easier to shut our eyes to it and go on with our lives when it’s in Syria or Myanmar or Iraq or Nigeria. I know that is true for me, too, and I know we can’t all fix all the world’s problems. But I wonder if there is a way to give our response the ring of “we feel a bit of your pain, and it’s awful, and let’s link hands to fight it everywhere” rather than “oh, just not HERE!”

    • Liz C says...

      Amen!!! I love your comments about the news media. Why do they glorify the shooters? It needs to stop.

    • Kimberly says...

      I don’t if I agree with everything you said, but YES about media being held accountable for their glorification of violence. Movies, video games, pornography are all more violent than they’ve ever been and then we wonder why incidents like these are on the rise.

    • Kayla Platt says...

      Yes! Yes! Yes!

    • Emily says...

      I agree regarding media coverage of shooters, but I think you’re way off about policy. Policy change is exactly what this country needs, especially when it comes to guns. There are more firearms per capita in the United States than in any other country. There are also far more mass shootings –
      almost two a day, in fact. Of course we can’t eradicate evil, but that’s a poor excuse for doing nothing. To claim that implementing common sense gun laws would not make a difference is willful ignorance.

    • B says...

      I too wish the news media would stop glorifying the shooters. A standard policy to refer to them as “a deranged individual” and move on to focusing on the victims would be my preference. Much like how there is a standard policy to not announce how much bank robbers got away with as to not encourage copycats.
      Imagine turning on the news to see a segment about the man who voluntarily acted as a human shield to his wife. They could dive into weather there were any “telltale signs” in his childhood that he was going to turn out to be a great person. “He was always nice to little kids on the bus” “He called his mother every Sunday in college” I’m not suggesting we gloss over how horrible events like this are but if we must glorify something in the end it would be nice to see it be the good guy.

  45. Sophia C. says...

    I’m from Barcelona. I spent hours yesterday constantly refreshing my social networks, re-watching videos and reading thousands of tweets with commentary. By the evening, I was emotionally exhausted. Here’s what helped me: First, taking a break from the internet. It’s okay to turn off the firehose if the negativity gets to be too much. Second, I made an effort today to find positive stories about people who acted in extraordinarily lovely ways during yesterday’s events and I made sure to share them with others to spread the

    • Katie says...

      Sophia, Love to you in Barcelona. I’ve been lucky to visit your city a few times so far in my life and it is gorgeous, to say the least. I have a print in my bedroom from my last trip there. I was staring at it last night & thinking of your beautiful city. I found it at a little shop there wherein there were chandeliers made of old keys, and trunks spilling forth old Vogue sewing patterns. The old man who ran the shop was so patient & helpful, especially given that I don’t speak Catalan. Everyone I ever met there was kind to me. This is the kind of stuff I pull forth during dark times; positive stories & memories & actions are a big part of spreading peace. Thank you for the affirmation & reminder.

  46. Andrea says...

    The real impact you can have on gun violence is knowing who has them and how they store them. Most gun violence is not in large acts of violence, but everyday accidents, suicides and homicides (including domestic violence). Do your parents have guns that your kids could find hunting around their garage? Does your teen visit a friend with guns not kept in a gun safe? Does your depressed friend talk about getting a gun for protection?

    So many everyday tragedies can be averted with human action. Why don’t we resolve to make gun access an issue, like we made seat belt use an issue? The lawmakers won’t act until they are made to. Why not start with a voluntary groundswell of smart gun action?

    • Sasha says...


    • Amy says...

      Jo, how does one ask these questions of loved ones? I agree whole-heartedly, but am unsure of how to broach the subject with friends and in-laws without coming across as insulting or hypervigilant. My daughter is reaching the age of play dates and sleepovers, but the pause I have over guns and unknown safety concerns in other homes is great. A series on strategies on engaging in hard conversations would be so welcome – especially in your calm, warm, reassuring voice.

    • Andrea says...

      There is a program highlighted by the American Academy of Pediatrics called ASK–Asking Saves Lives.

      From their website: “In America, one out of three homes with children has a gun, and nearly 1.7 million children live in a home with a loaded, unlocked gun. Every year thousands of kids are killed and injured as a result.”

      There are 88 guns for every 100 people in America. You know people who own guns. Do you know how they are storing them?

  47. Emily says...

    My friend from high school just had a baby a few weeks ago. Her partner is a chef in a restaurant in the Mandalay, where the shooting happened. Thank god, he’s safe. But yes, a very scary time. I’m finding it most helpful to turn to things and people that make me feel happy, or let me laugh, otherwise it can all be a bit overwhelming. x

  48. LOVE > HATE. Thank you for your post today. Feeling numb and helpless in the moment but inspired to speak up and use my voice for good. Thank you for sharing ways to help as well.

  49. Lauren says...

    Thank you for this post. I truly appreciate your pause in “regularly scheduled programming” to recognize the heartbreaking events taking place around the world and to share these sentiments. As I have perused my regular blogs and websites today, those who did not pause to address what is happening felt extremely trite to me. Your blog is my absolute favorite place on the internet so I was grateful to see you write such an honest and poignant post.

    Also, the comments about children have really hit home for me today. My husband and I are planning to start trying to get pregnant with our first child later this fall and I have been haunted by thoughts of why would I bring an innocent child into this chaotic world all day. We truly want to raise a family together, but the state of the world makes me so uneasy. I know uncertainty about the future and darkness in the world will always exist and it is important to remain hopeful, but it feels so hard to keep the glass half full these days. Thank you for creating a positive community on this blog to help fill my glass everyday.

    • Hey Lauren, just wanted to offer an encouragement. I am six months along with my first and I had this very thought this past spring, before we started trying. It felt so irresponsible to bring a baby — who didn’t ask to be born — into this world, simply because we desire to be parents.

      And yet…somehow doing so feels like the purest act of hope possible. I cling to this poem:

      Good Bones by Maggie Smith

      Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
      Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
      in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
      a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
      I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
      fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
      estimate, though I keep this from my children.
      For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
      For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
      sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
      is at least half terrible, and for every kind
      stranger, there is one who would break you,
      though I keep this from my children. I am trying
      to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
      walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
      about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
      right? You could make this place beautiful.

    • Maggie says...

      Having children remains the single most optomistic act in all mankind. Godspeed.

    • Heather says...

      Lauren, I hear what you’re saying; as a parent of young children, I’ve wondered the same thing. But then I remember that throughout history, people have chosen to bring children into much, much worse. My grandparents chose to have children amidst the horrors of World War II. My parents chose to have children during the Cold War, despite fears of nuclear annihilation. When I was born (and for much of my life), same sex marriage was illegal in the US. American society was more institutionally sexist, racist, homophobic, ableist, etc. In many ways, I think the world my children were born into is safer and more just than the world my parents brought me into. But I’ve never thought that my parents were wrong to have children, even in such a messed-up world. There are so many good people doing good things every day — the vast majority of humanity, I would venture to say. Days like this are hard, but children are a joy and bring so much light and love into the world.

    • Ellie says...

      On December 21 1988, a terrorist attack took down a Pan Am jet over Scotland. Among the innocent victims were students coming home for Christmas from a semester abroad. My oldest, Kate, was two days old, and I was overwhelmed with a sense of helplessness. “How will I keep her safe?” “How could one ever survive the loss of a child?” “How can I optimistically raise a child when there is so much evil in this world?” Fast forward to today. My Kate is now almost 29. She has brought so much love and light into our lives and to this world. (She received her masters in human rights law and works in refugee resettlement. I’m a proud mama.) I look at Kate and I see only good and optimism. — Have a child. (Or three, as we did.) It will be the greatest joy of your life, and it is the most hopeful thing that you can do. Our future depends on good people raising good children.

    • Lauren says...

      Thank you for these kind responses. I love this supportive community :)

  50. Erin Souza-Rezendes says...

    Thank you for this. It’s been hard going about my usual day when this tragedy is weighing so heavily on all of us. A friend of mine shared this poem by Maggie Smith, and it moved me so much. Sharing here in case it helps others, too.

    Good Bones
    By Maggie Smith

    “Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
    Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
    in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
    a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
    I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
    fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
    estimate, though I keep this from my children.
    For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
    For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
    sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
    is at least half terrible, and for every kind
    stranger, there is one who would break you,
    though I keep this from my children. I am trying
    to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
    walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
    about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
    right? You could make this place beautiful.”

    • This always makes me cry.

    • Kristina says...

      This gave me chills. What a pure yet monumental goal: Make this place beautiful. Thank you for sharing this moving poem.

    • Maria in Maine says...

      Thank you for sharing …I was feeling hopeless about our world and the what the future holds for my children…this poem gives me hope

    • Dee says...

      Thank you Bethany. Knowing better times are coming and that there is one true God, Jehovah who cares about each one of us individually can give a lot of comfort. We humans are simply not able to solve our problems without him, and his son Jesus’ ransom sacrifice.

  51. Kate says...

    Thank you for writing this, Joanna. I think it’s important to remember that those who do not support even some additional gun regulations are a small but very vocal minority. It can be difficult to put yourself out there in front of this crowd, so I appreciate what you are doing.
    And on that note, this does not need to be (and historically has not been) a Republican vs. Democrat issue. If you have a Republican representative, it is even more important that you ask them to support common sense gun reforms, and especially important that you thank them when they do. They hear from that vocal minority much, much more. And if you are a responsible gun owner who supports reform, we especially need to hear from you.

  52. Janet says...

    Let’s begin with ourselves. Go to bed each night knowing you treated each person you encountered today with respect, that each person you love knows it. And for God’s sake, when you are tempted to express your fear in the form of hate, in thought or action, remind yourself the children are listening.

  53. Maria says...

    As you said Joanna, so many things are happening in the world and finding no way of protecting my 3-year-old child has led me to the feeling of not wanting to have any more children even though it is my deepest wish. It is the only way I will be able to protect the children I will never have.

    • Emily says...

      Maria, this resonates with me so strongly. I had my daughter in 2015, which feels like a different world at this point. I always thought we’d have more than one child, but the state of the world has led me to think differently.

      Thank you, Joanna, for honoring what has happened and for not shying away from difficult topics.

    • Lisa says...

      There was the attack in Brussels when my son was a few weeks old, and I remember getting up in the night to feed him and feeling absolutely terrified; I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Also, there was the Bataclan attack in Paris when I was pregnant for him, in the area of Paris where my sister in law lives (thank goodness she wasn’t there at the time). A few days after the Brussels attack, I had to take this tiny baby to get their birth registered at the town hall, which is right next to Kings Cross Station, and I was completely freaked out, worried that something would happen.
      But life goes on – horrible things have happened throughout the ages, and most of the time there’s little that you can do. But, I just have to trust that I’m raising a son who will make the world a better place, and for me he’s doing so even just by being in it.

    • Sarah K says...

      I know it’s so scary; I feel that way too. The saying that having a child means forever having your heart walk around outside your body is profoundly true.

      But I also think that throughout human history, people have had babies in circumstances that seemed even bleaker than these, and many of those people have gone on to do amazing good in the world. Only a few generations ago, Americans were literally lining up in opposing armies and massacring their brothers and cousins and fathers and best friends. It feels impossibly long ago, and yet I’m 37, and my great-great-grandfather was a Union soldier. If there was ever a time to decide not to bring another child into this insane world, surely that would have been one of those times. And yet how many life-saving medical procedures and vaccinations, how many great works of art, how many developments that improved the lives of millions, would never have come about if all the thoughtful, reflective, good people of that time and many other dark times had decided not to have any more children? As another example, Jonas Salk was born in October 1914, when it must have seemed like the world was ending: but he went on to develop the vaccine for polio which had ravaged children worldwide–in 1952 over 3,000 people, mostly children, died from it in America alone and over 20,000 were paralyzed. I would never presume to tell you what to do, but I want to encourage you that there are hopeful possibilities, too–children born in these next years might bring about more good than we could possibly imagine now.

  54. Cynthia says...

    We need to remove the stigma surrounding mental illness.

    • Victoria says...

      Yes! This is one of the many facets of these violent events.

    • Cory says...

      We certainly do, but dismissing this man’s horrible actions as being the result of a mental illness further encourages the idea that people with mental illness are violent towards others. Talking about the shooter’s mental health first and foremost implies that those of us with depression are one bad day away from murdering dozens of people. Life is obviously more complicated than this. But please have some compassion for people with mental health problems by not making this about them.

    • Jessica Clark says...

      Indeed. A huge part of that is informing people that those with mental illnesses are much more likely to be victims of violence than the perpetrators.

    • Mental illness is a human thing.

      Guns are an American thing.

      In 1996 in Australia, a mentally ill man massacred 35 people – as a result Australia passed extensive gun laws, and a government-funded gun buy back scheme, that was supported by everyone – farmers, hunters, everyone. After the Dunblane massacre in 1997, the UK banned the private possession of all cartridge ammunition handguns, regardless of calibre. Since then: no gun massacres. It wasn’t even a discussion, just the obvious thing to do. It is the OBVIOUS thing to do. Anyone who says otherwise is delusional.

  55. Anni says...

    It is horrible news and we think of all the people affected by this!
    Trying to explain it to my children aged 6 and 3, the first thing they asked was “why are these people allowed to carry guns”. We don’t live in the USA, so my first thought also was: when will these laws for guns over there be finally changed? How many more shootings must happen until the politicians will wake up? Go out and vote, stand together, demonstrate, be kind. And give your loved ones an extra big hug!
    Love Cup of Jo for always finding the right words and spreading positivity!

  56. Elissa says...

    Thanks for this post, Joanna and company. I live in Blacksburg, VA and was a student at Virginia Tech when that tragedy took place. I am also an owner of firearms. I have had many conflicted feelings over the years about what needs to happen to make this all stop and my views have shifted CONSIDERABLY from where they started out before these tragedies happened; I think there needs to be a lot more control, and (stricter) responsibility of that control, in place. All I can say is I am deeply sorry for the community of Las Vegas and what they are currently enduring. You never know exactly how much it effects people until you go through it yourself. Stay strong, Las Vegas, you are loved.

    • Maggie says...

      Thank you for using your voice. The only way forward is to stop dividing yourselves into pro/anti gun groups and find the common ground which is safety and security for all.

  57. Anne says...

    We don’t pray because we have nothing else to do, we pray because at the heart of this is not guns (fully automatic are incredibly onerous and expensive to obtain; your gun control suggestions are already in place for what he used) but evil. We can only turn to God as a people and change our hearts away from win. Laws that curtail rights may make you feel better for “doing something” but are not only ineffective and unconstitutional but also miss the problem.

    • Nicole K. says...

      I have to disagree with some of this, Anne. Other countries, like Australia, have seen a lot of success in eliminating gun violence after enacting stricter gun control laws. Even if, as you say, our existing laws wouldn’t have prevented this man from doing what he did, they could still prevent thousands of others who die from guns (not limited to acts of violence, but also by accident).

      Also, in a country like the United States with so many mixed religions, I think we need to find a non-religious way to come together on values that matter (Saving lives! Doing good! Treating people with respect!) to all of us. For those who don’t share your beliefs, fighting to enact gun safety laws (which are not unconstitutional — I cannot imagine the Founding Fathers had 21st century semi-automatic military-grade weapons in mind when they wrote the Constitution) and “doing something” are ways to try and achieve the same kind of positive result I imagine you hope to achieve through prayer. There is room for for all of us to do our best, whether that is through prayer or through taking action.

    • Agatha says...

      Sorry Anne, but I completely disagree with you. Is it God who has reduced the number of mass shootings in Australia and Britain? Or is it the much stricter laws that reduce access to ammunition and guns? How do you explain that the number of mass shootings there have decreased significantly, while the number of children and teenagers in America who have died continue to rise and will continue to die because of the easy access to guns.

      The heart of this IS guns. They are meant to kill people – full stop. If he had not had easy access to guns, how would this tragedy have occurred? He bought a kit to convert a gun to an automatic weapon — legally. Have you seen the statistics on gun suicide? It’s very easy to reach for a gun and kill yourself vs. other methods. What about the number of children who are killed each year by playing with a gun? It’s sickening. And for what? The right to bear arms that comes from militia times? The right to “protect” yourself? You are more likely to injure yourself.

      I am so angry about this I can barely breathe. I try to stop myself from imagining my child there getting hurt. I find myself reading about what to do if I am caught in an active shooter situation with her. It’s wrong, and tragic, and this could have been prevented.

  58. Kelly says...

    This isn’t really a “to-do” but I follow @igorvolsky on twitter and he retweets every senator or rep who say something about thoughts and prayers who have taken money from the NRA, and tells you how much they have taken. This is eye opening information and those elected officials deserve to be called out. It’s worth a look.
    Personally, I was considering having a free ice cream stand with my kids, hoping to spread a little love that way.

    • Sasha says...

      Thank you for this info Kelly. And give some ice cream today.

  59. Megan says...

    Four weeks ago, there was a mass shooting in my hometown of Plano, TX. The early headlines out Sunday night told us that 8 people were killed at a Dallas Cowboy football watching party. I thought the same thing many others were thinking- “Oh, that’s terrible. It’s so close to home. When will the violence end?” and then went about my evening, barely giving it another thought.

    It wasn’t until the next morning that I received the devastating phone call. The party was at our friend’s house. My husband and I knew 5 of the 8 people that were killed, including the shooter. One of the guests had been at my intimate Wyoming destination wedding just a week before.

    I won’t go into the details on how difficult this has been for us, the families, their coworkers, anybody that has ever met them at a party, had them in a class… At first I felt angry when people tried to turn this into a political platform. I felt angry before the shooter was publicly identified when people speculated on race, mental health, etc. I’ve since chosen to focus on the good the world has shown us since then- an airline giving free flights to friends and family members so they can get to their support network, a stranger opening their home in Houston so the victim’s friends would have a place to stay while attending yet another funeral.

    Yeah, we need to talk guncare. Yeah, we need to talk mental-health and the stigma around it. Yeah, I’m sad and angry, but I have found when you are feeling scared because the world seems so much colder than it did just a few weeks ago- look at the love around you. It’s everywhere. We’ll get through this together.

    • Sasha says...

      I’m so sorry for your loss Megan.

    • Jessica says...

      Megan, I’m so incredibly sorry for your loss, and everyone else affected by this horrible event. And thank you for sharing that op-ed–I also found it well-reasoned and thoughtful.

    • Wow, that must’ve been gut wrenching. I’m so sorry you’ve had to experience this horrific pain. I’m thinking of you.

    • I’m so so sorry for your losses, Megan. I hope that you and your husband are getting the support that you need.

    • Mel says...

      I’m so sorry to hear of your personal loss. I too grew up in Plano. Even after many, many years away, it still hits too close to home. It’s always too close to home, wherever violence may occur. I do believe that the love is stronger, and together is stronger too.

    • Anne says...

      Megan, I’m so sorry for your loss. I live in Dallas, and that story was shocking.

      The Monday after that shooting, a friend called because her relative had been shot and killed in Dallas and asked if I knew anything about it. There was another shooting downtown, but of course all the headlines were understandably about Plano.

      My friend’s relative had battled mental illnesses all his life, and I suppose the concealed carrier had never encountered a homeless person before and felt threatened enough to shoot and kill him him from across the street.

  60. Paula says...

    Thank you for this post.

  61. Give blood, yes, but remember that the need will not go away. Make an appointment for next week, or next month, or even the month after that.

    And thanks for doing this today, COJ. It is much appreciated.

  62. Susan says...

    Way to go Jo. Stay woke.

  63. Lucy says...

    Get Educated, Donate, Speak Out, Vote–just ACT. We can’t do this unless we band together. Join and donate to The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Everytown for Gun Safety, and/or Moms Demand Action. Sign up for their notifications of rallies, or bills pending in Congress. Right now, Congress is getting ready to vote on legislation to allow people from Conceled Carry states to carry in states where concealed carry is not allowed – it’s called Concelaed Carry Reciprocity. And there will be more NRA-sponsored bills coming down the pike. Call your representative and say NO MORE. Stop voting for representatives with poor records on gun control legislation. Prayer is not enough–we must make our voices heard to stop this insanity.

    • Sasha says...

      What’s so angering, in my state, neither party will put forth a candidate who is even moderate on gun control, @ the state, local, or national level. The gun lobby literally runs my state (MT). If I had a choice to vote for someone else, I would, believe me. It’s so frustrating.

    • Lucy says...

      Sasha – I live in DC, so I don’t have visibility into this issue because it is a very liberal jurisdiction, but it’s a concerning point that you raise. Politics is becoming so polarized that we are taking away real choice. I deal with the other end of the spectrum–the GOP keeps blocking DC citizens’ right to statehood so we don’t have a voice at all. It’s so frustrating.

    • Sasha says...

      Lucy, DC citizens deserve equality with the rest of us.

      In Montana it’s been this way forever. Only the most conservative dems, if they can get elected at all. Unfortunately the NRA has been able to frame the gun control issue (in MT) around hunters’ rights. Which is fucking laughable. And has enormously tragic consequences.

      We need a huge change in our two party system……if we want Trump out, universal health care, gun control, climate change help.

  64. Sasha says...

    I wish every time there was a shooting like this, we would do what COJ is doing, on a larger scale. Stay home. Spend nothing. Boycott a country that refuses to pass same gun legislation or universal health that could adequately address mental illness.
    In honor of every person who’s life is stopped, we would all stop.

    • Annie says...

      perfectly said. there needs to be a national day of ‘stopping’ for a better word. a day of no spending, no paying taxes to a government that continues to fail us, no working, no social media presence. we need to take a stance. and it seems that no amount of calling/writing to our local representatives will help bring forth progress in this matter. we need to make it clear that the majority of Americans agree with gun control (which they do) and we need to make this clear with the use/or lack of our social presence, our wallets, our work, etc.

    • Heather says...

      Annie I LOVE THAT IDEA. How do we make that happen?

    • Kaitlin says...

      Yes. There is power in a vote, and even more in a dollar. How can we make this happen?

    • Katie says...

      brilliant. i love all of these ideas. count me in.

    • Victoria says...

      I’m down! When do we start.

  65. Reem says...

    Thank you. It must be so difficult to navigate what is happening in the world and balance that with your daily work.

    I’m from Las Vegas, with family still there, so this felt especially real today.

    I think beyond the advice to love one another after a tragedy, is to love and know what is going on with the people around us before anything happens. I’m amazed every time at how shocked everyone is that the perpetrator could do this, from neighbors to family. This is a reminder to myself most of all, because I get busy and neglect relationships; I take things at face value; I would rather believe things are fine than pry. But I think we need to be with each other more deeply, be present in people’s lives, make their happiness and mental health our business, giving everyone greater meaning and power.

    Stay blessed.

    • june2 says...

      So, so true.

  66. Patricia says...

    Thank you <3 First, my thoughts with all those affected. I'm from Puerto Rico and trust me, it hurts and it angers and it's unfair. Secondly, GO VOTE. Go vote for political officers who represent you and your interests. Let them know that if they don't work for YOU, you won't vote for THEM.

  67. Mallory says...

    I think the most important thing we can all do today, and everyday, is to be kind and present. I also recommend that everyone reads This is Water by David Foster Wallace. It is the best meditation/devotional for making some sense of how we should move forward:

    • kaela says...

      Thank you for this, Mallory.

  68. Amy P says...

    The best rebuttal to the “the people who want to do damage will get guns illegally anyway so what’s the point of trying to change the laws” argument that I’ve heard in a long time was in this NYT article:
    Excerpts below:

    “Skeptics will say that there are no magic wands and that laws can’t make the carnage go away. To some extent, they’re right. Some criminals will always be able to obtain guns, especially in a country like America that is awash with 300 million firearms. We are always likely to have higher gun death rates than Europe.”

    “But in every other sphere, we at least use safety regulations to try — however imperfectly — to reduce death and injury.”

    ” The best example of intelligent regulation is auto safety. By my calculations, we’ve reduced the auto fatality rate per 100 million miles driven by more than 95 percent since 1921. There was no single solution but rather many incremental efforts: seatbelts, air bags, padded dashboards, better bumpers, lighted roads, highway guardrails, graduated licenses for young people, crackdowns on drunken driving, limits on left turns, and so on. We haven’t banned automobiles, and we haven’t eliminated auto deaths, but we have learned to make them safer — and we should do the same with guns.”

    • I felt the same way about that op-ed! Very reasonable. And Joanna, thank you for pausing today – we all need to pull together today.

    • Hita says...

      I have heard the response that driving is a privilege, but guns are a right- trying to dismiss this analogy. I have given up trying to make this point now. You either get it or you don’t. ☹

  69. aga says...

    My sympathies to the people of Las Vegas.

    As a Canadian citizen, you know what’s horrible? That I’m not horrified. I heard the news this morning and thought, another day in the USA. I’m horrified by the police violence in Catuña. I’m deeply horrified by the situation in Puerto Rico, and the Rohingya genocide in Maynmar. …But it seems that I am no longer shocked by “lone gunman” shooting in the USA. I WAS horrified at the Orland shootings, I remember having a conversation with my class, I remember the students were shocked, but not this time. And THAT’S horrifying.

    I’m seeing #prayforvegas posts and I think that praying for Vegas should be coupled with voting for gun control and universal health care (which includes mental health).

    I’m glad this was today’s post.

    • THIS. YES. I am tired of seeing “pray for ___” hashtags and lowered flags. It all feels so trite. How about calling representatives and voting for change? We need movement.

    • brianna says...

      I think people pray because they don’t know what else to do, but you’re right, Aga, we need support for gun control and universal health care above all else.

    • Meghan says...

      Yes, yes, yes! It doesn’t have to be this way.

    • Yes, this is the sad truth. These tragedies are heartbreaking every single time they occur but the initial shock soon fades when I am forced to remember the frequency in which they take place in this country. It’s awful. Each day I hope we are closer to reaching stricter gun control laws that will ensure safe places for us to live.

  70. I usually stay away from the comments, but I must say we have to get more people involved in the PROCESS of changing things. If we want to change policy, we need to elect leaders who believe in sensible gun control. We need more people volunteering, talking to their neighbors, knocking on doors, making phone calls. Find your local Democratic Party (whether it’s county, legislative district, etc.) and get involved. Show up. Stay informed. Teach others. I was mad and bitter and scrolling through social media this morning, but then I made 100 phone calls to voters in the conservative district next to mine and I feel like there is hope for my one year old’s future.

  71. Heather D. says...

    Just try and love someone today. Be a little bit of light in a very dark country today.

    • Victoria says...

      Yes. Let’s light it up this entire week. We need to refuse this darkness. Refuse it!

  72. Nicole says...

    I don’t live in Nevada, but I’m going to schedule an appointment to donate blood. I think it helps no matter where you live.

    • kaela says...

      It 100% does help, Nicole. And even if your blood doesn’t get to Nevada, it will be received by someone else who really truly needs it. Someone else who may also be teetering on the edge, but want to stay. xo

  73. Rachel says...

    A radio commentator this morning said something I found really helpful. He said we all need each other right now. I lost my father-in-law last year, and I can’t tell you how much my husband and I needed our community this year. Just coming together and being together is important. I don’t know that we can easily solve our problems right now, but we can be there for each other, and I think you’re post today emulates that so well. I just love Cup of Jo and am thankful to be a part of different seasons with this online community.

  74. I am from Las Vegas, born and raised, though I haven’t lived there in over a decade. I am heartsick thinking of how narrowly some of my friends and family were spared from tragedy, and even more so for those who weren’t as fortunate. It is senseless, and just unspeakably sad. I am at a loss today.

  75. CV says...

    Fred Rogers, the children’s media pioneer who many of us remember from the PBS program Mister Rogers Neighborhood, once shared wise and comforting words for children of all ages:

    “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

    • Mr. Rogers always puts things into perspective. Those are the best words. <3

    • Emma says...

      This is lovely. What a wonderful reminder at a time like this.

    • Sasha says...

      And let’s BE the helpers. The ones who call, write, protest, vote, until we have a government that will pass universal health care, and adequately care for the mentally ill, and sane gun laws.

      Meanwhile, let’s watch Mr Rogers with the children, and remember that there are good people. WE are good people. Go for a walk in nature, meditate, do some yoga, hug someone, call a friend, say thank you to those helping you along the way, unplug, truly care for yourself, so you can be strong enough to do this hard work.

      Thank you for this post today COJ.

  76. Annie says...

    Thank you for this.

  77. Abby says...

    My heart is so heavy and has been for some time. As I struggle to figure out how to raise my 16 month old daughter in this world, I am provided some measure of comfort and hope knowing that there are amazing people still in it. I know that because I read the posts and comments on this blog, I see my wonderful friends and family raising good humans, and I work with some of the most compassion, passionate advocates for the most vulnerable people in the state of Tennessee. Today I am holding tight to these truths.

    Thank you Cup of Jo team for creating a space to grieve, process, and rally for the good. I appreciate the fact that you did not move on with business as usual.

  78. Jan says...

    Just read a poster on Saturday captioned “The only thing stronger than fear is hope”. The poster picture was a boat loaded with refugees in the ocean. Strong words for a scary time in history.
    I agree give blood. And be kind.

  79. Katie says...

    I just keep thinking about those parents that will never get to hold their babies again.

    • Lori says...

      Or those babies who will sadly never hug their parents again.

  80. Laeti says...

    It is so sad ans scary. Honestly, it crosses my mind almost every morning after dropping my kid (first grader) at school, that there could be a shooting today.
    The gun violence has gotten completely out of control, and there are no sign that anything will be done to remove guns from being so easily accessible, including to those with mental illness and suicidal thoughts. It is one reason we’re thinking about move out of this country .

  81. Heather says...

    Thank you for saying this and not just proceeding with “business as usual.” One of the things that seems so astounding to me about our country experiencing so many mass shootings is how, after so many, they seem to shock us less and less. But, we need to remember that this IS shocking…we shouldn’t just go about our daily business and everyday conversation. We need to talk about it and keep talking about it (especially with our legislators)…if not for our own sakes, at least for our children’s. My heart aches for all the victims…even those who escaped physically unharmed will surely carry this trauma with them for life.

  82. Katie. H says...

    Thank you for saying – something. Your words are always a comfort. In addition to this horrific news, someone I know was killed in a head-on collision while on vacation this weekend. I don’t know what to make of it all…

  83. jules says...

    So horrific and would have been unthinkable even 20 years ago. It’s crazy gun laws but it’s not just guns. It’s sadness. It’s loneliness. It’s a dangerous void. We are OD’ed on numbing out and worshipping all that glitters. Las Vegas represents (not **IS**, but culturally represents) what much of America sold its soul for – pleasure, “fame,” sex, status, quick money, envy, supposed power, etc. I look at these killing sprees and see a crazy, existential pain. We’re in a period of reckoning as a country. (I realize I sound like a bible banger, I’m quite the opposite….) We need put down our freaking phones and Amazon prime and connect as human beings. We can start where we are right now.

    • Amanda G says...

      Actually, when looking at the listing of the 10 mass shootings in US history with the highest casualties, 4 of them happened more twenty years ago. However, the frequency is definitely on the rise. Not trying to invalidate your point, just trying to bring some light to the fact that, unfortunately, this just seems to be an ingrained part of our society. And I agree, we need to connect at a human level, as well as promote mental health!

  84. n says...

    Thank you. Your words are always so comforting.
    I am sad, angry, and feel more anxious every day. I wake up anxious in the middle of night. I also JUST found out I am pregnant with my second child. Part of me is so happy but part of me feels terrible for bringing someone else into this terrible world.

    • Katie says...

      Congrats on your pregnancy N! I was pregnant with my second through this last fall and winter and had my baby in March. It was not easy or fun to try and be excited and hopeful for this new life while processing the election and my fears afterward.

      I would really encourage you to seek out a good counselor if your anxiety is preventing you from enjoying your pregnancy (as much as you would enjoy a normal pregnancy!). Trying to handle this stuff in the world with the hormones and fatigue of pregnancy is really more than you can just work on with regular self-care effort. I saw a counselor who specialized in brain-spotting (look it up) which was actually super effective for relieving a lot of my anxiety. I’m not feeling very happy-go-lucky about everything, but I am more able to enjoy my baby and not feel like I’m giving up the joy of her baby-days to the stress of the world.

      I’m actually going back this week to work on my fears about the on-going threat of war. I’ve noticed that I’m having a hard time letting go of my fears because if I do that it feels like that will give the world permission to go even further to hell – the old keeping the plane up with my worries sort of thing. But I know that I really need to keep my eye on caring for my family and community (large and small) and the fact that I need some help to do that well lately is ok by me.

      Good luck to you and your family and I hope you’re able to see some hope so that you can nourish this new little life.

    • L says...

      Thank you, Katie, for your comment. I’m 39 weeks pregnant with my first and, amidst all the normal pre-labor anxiety, am wondering how we welcome a child into a world so broken.

    • Jules says...

      I have three boys and we’ll hopefully be blessed with at least one more child. I’ve seen this sentiment – worrying about bringing children into this world – a lot. My friend’s sister was having trouble deciding if they should have another child after Trump was elected. It’s interesting to me because these are the exact people who should be raising children. Your child could be the next peacemaker, great inventor to solve problems, or the next great leader of our country. We need more good people in this world.

      I also find comfort in knowing that every generation before us has felt the same thing…especially after becoming parents. During the Black Plague when basically 3/4 of people were dying and they didn’t know how to stay safe, WWI when nations last almost an entire generation of men, the Holocaust, Vietnam….etc, etc. The world has always had absolutely awful things happening all over. There are always good people trying to make this world a better place, we just have to keep trying.

    • Jules says...

      Also, N, congratulations!

    • em says...

      I am 34 weeks pregnant with my first child, at 37. I have always hoped for more than one child. This morning I wondered if it is horrible to bring more children into such a tragic world–not to mention this little person in a few short weeks. But then I thought that is exactly what every person out there who wants to have children should do. Have babies. Raise them the best you can to make good choices and to be merciful, kind, loving adults.

    • Jules, you said much more eloquently than I ever could the sentiment that I came to share! We need good people raising more good people! Also hoping that anyone who isn’t feeling like bringing someone new into the world is for them right now considers adopting or fostering instead.

  85. Whitney says...

    In the words of my favorite female activist, Mary Baker Eddy: “Be Love, live Love. Love, Love, Love.”

    • Maggie says...

      Oh my god this is so amazing and too much and I just totally burst into tears after trying to remain apathetic and stoic all morning.

      Do we all have PTSD? I kinda think so. Its too much, the news and all the bad stuff. If the rest of you don’t mind, imma pull the plug on the global outlook for a while and get a bit myopic within my own community (St. Louis, which is protesting itself into eternity over here). How can we be so inundated with fear and bad news and feel so powerless and keep continuing? Because people, I am totally fucking depleted.

    • Maggie, I think you just answered your question…”because people.” We can keep going on, keep trying to help, because of people. Because of the humanity that binds all of our differences into one glorious, crazy, diverse world tribe. Because there is always a choice to clench our fists, holding tight to what we have – or to open our hands wide to share what was never ours to keep anyway.

      I’m from St Louis, too…my heart is depleted from all of the hurt. I see no way forward but to keep looking for the heart in others.

  86. Tiffany Jordan says...

    The most I can think to say is don’t let the fear win. Take courage, have faith. Goodness and kindness will always win in the end. Acknowledge these acts of violence, acknowledge the fear by showing up in someones life today and everyday. Make a goal to do something good in the world each day.

  87. “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family” – Mother Teresa.

    Praying for a greater respect for the dignity of human life that begins in the home, transmitted person to person, husband to wife, brother to sister, parent to child. One relationship at a time. That’s how we rebuild this broken, weary culture. God grant us the grace.

    • jules says...


  88. Steph says...

    I had a good, long, despairing cry. Then I tried to train my mind to think about what is true (God’s comfort), noble (first responders), right (this man and his hate are an anomoly) pure (my love for my fellow man), lovely (my children), admirable (people who rush out to heal and donate blood), excellent (people who try to create laws and environments that are safer), and praiseworthy (this conversation, respect for each others opinions, opportunities to grieve together).

    • Elspeth says...

      Thank you. Lovely thoughts.

    • Anna says...

      Love this.

  89. CJ says...

    We witness true heroes out of the horrific sadness and violence of these events. My advice as a therapist is do NOT underestimate the impact this has on the average person who lives nowhere near Las Vegas. It is a trauma and can be passively felt by those who were victims (or not) at another time in their lives. Get help, talk to friends and loved ones, reach out and do something kind. This will strengthen us although my heart it broken. We rise.

  90. sarah says...

    As a librarian this is the resource I use and recommend to parents and schools to help kids with death and trauma:

  91. M says...

    You CAN do something. We can start changing Congress, and in three years, we can change the president. I live in Massachusetts, but I’m campaigning like hell for Alabama Senate candidate Doug Jones, who’ll be running in the December special election in December against Roy Moore. If you don’t know about Roy Moore, google him. After you’ve read enough to become sufficiently horrified by the prospect of this man becoming a U.S. Senator and having a hand in crafting the laws that govern YOU, start working to get Doug Jones elected. He’s a smart, capable candidate. (He believes in science! He prosecuted the KKK!) We desperately need gun control in America and we can start by focusing on any election we can, no matter where we live. Also, call your representatives. Call your Senators. Daily. Tell them we need gun control. NOW.

    • Heather says...

      Well said!

    • Nancey says...

      Thank you for this, and …. I will.

    • Rose says...

      M, I live in the Bay Area so have representatives that strongly align with my beliefs, though I still contact them daily, but I just wanted to let you know that I googled Roy Moore and just now contacted Doug Jones’ campaign manager to see how I can be of service remotely. Thank you for your inspiration!

    • justine says...


  92. Emily says...

    Dear Conservatives,
    No one wants to take away your 2nd amendment rights. All we ask is that outdated laws be changed, and the process of obtaining a gun is not as easily available to mentally unstable people or criminals. Sure they can still get a gun, but let’s make it harder. And for goodness sake no civilian should have easy access to an assault rifle! If you are a sane NRA member (and I know you exist) who gets this, then please fight for things to be right. YOU are the ones who will get Congress to listen.

    • Emily R says...


    • catherine briand says...


    • molly says...

      Completely agree about stricter gun laws, however, In addition to gun laws though, I think there is a bigger issue at hand. I wish there was more focus on mental health in our society and the overall violence that has permeated our culture. I think stricter gun laws would 100% be a great start, but the mental state of the people who are behind these violent and horrible crimes is just as frightening. Now cars are being used as weapons, home made bombs, knives… it’s horrifying. I wish there was more information on how to help on the mental health front. Does anyone know of anything to help in that area?

    • Laura says...

      I agree that the gun laws need to change from what they are now. In Chicago they have very strict gun laws but the amount of deaths by guns there is staggering. So there needs to be the “right” kinds of laws. Because what they have there isn’t working. Laws need to be changed so all these killings stop and we won’t have to wake up to what happened in Las Vegas.

  93. Charlotte K says...

    I don’t have any children. I have nine beautiful great nieces and nephews.
    Every day I think about the world that the generations before and after mine, as well as my own, are leaving to these children. Sadly I see a future in which the ones with money live safe, secure lives, in razor wired compounds, with private security guards as in much of the third world. The rest will have to take their chances.

    For now we have to accept that every time we gather together in public we are at risk because of domestic terrorism promulgated by the NRA.

    If the deaths of elementary school children and their teachers at Newtown didn’t stop these domestic terrorists, nothing will, short of mass demonstrations and voting for representatives who truly will change our barbaric gun laws.

  94. Anna says...

    I think about this poem a lot since bringing a child into the world.

    Good Bones
    by Maggie Smith

    Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
    Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
    in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
    a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
    I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
    fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
    estimate, though I keep this from my children.
    For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
    For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
    sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
    is at least half terrible, and for every kind
    stranger, there is one who would break you,
    though I keep this from my children. I am trying
    to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
    walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
    about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
    right? You could make this place beautiful.

    • Chelsea says...


    • Jasna says...

      Thank you for this amazing poem!

    • Omg cup of jo poetry club….can that be a thing???

  95. I feel numb and helpless. It’s simply too much to take in. I feel grateful for the brave first responders and the doctors and nurses who were there to treat the wounded. I feel grateful to those that donate blood. There are so many brave and kind people out there who give so much of themselves. I hold onto that thought.

  96. My fifteen year old daughter is the one that told us about Las Vegas this morning as she woke up to it with her clock radio. Ugh. It’s horrible and disheartening. I told her all we can do is pray. Huge sigh.

    • Emma Bee says...

      “All we can do is pray”? Seriously that’s bullshit.

    • Claire says...

      I am a Christian and 100% believe in the power of prayer. I also believe we can and should be actively working to improve and change the world. So, yes, let’s pray. But let’s also fight like hell and love one another the best we can. <3

    • kiki says...

      @Claire. YES. THIS. so much this. thank you!

    • erin says...

      we’ve been praying since Sandy Hook and lo and behold, nothing has changed

  97. Genia says...

    Thank you for making your blog not only current in terms of culture and lifestyle, but also emotions. So important to acknowledge events like this on social media, helps bring people together. What a sad day for humanity… Sending love to those affected!

    • Heather says...

      Well said! Thank you to the Cup of Jo team and to all of the readers who have shared caring posts. Your thoughtfulness and sensitivity is much appreciated. Sending lots of love and light to you and the world today. We all need it.

  98. Megan says...

    by Langston Hughes

    I am so tired of waiting,
    Aren’t you,
    For the world to become good
    And beautiful and kind?
    Let us take a knife
    And cut the world in two-
    And see what worms are eating
    At the rind.

    • This is beautiful and so sad.

    • Lexi Mainland says...

      Amazing, thanks for sharing that.

    • kaela says...

      love. so much power in those words.

    • Jess says...

      Thank you for sharing.

  99. Louisa says...

    I had not heard the news. I stopped listening to NPR after the election.

    I thought this morning, after dropping off my daughter at preschool, “there is nothing I wouldn’t do for her.” I felt it to my core today — that visceral mama bear feeling that almost feels like a commandment from somewhere else — “I would stop at nothing to keep her safe.” But how helpless I feel.

    What helps me:

  100. j says...

    today, when the worst of humanity will take front and center in the collective consciousness….I have been heartened by the nobel announcements which will surely get drowned out as some of the best of humanity. A small example of the spirit of discovery, triumph of science through the tedium of research on fruit flies, no less, that has broadly impacted our knowledge of ourselves and the world. Today its hard not to ask WHY in disbelief, but the remarkable also exists elsewhere, side by side in this world.

  101. Marlena says...

    Thank you for this post. I’m born and raised here in Las Vegas and while the world may picture strip clubs and Elvis when they think of Vegas, we are actually a tight knit community, filled with art and joy and beauty and family… and this violence has rocked our city. But, like any place that is filled with amazing and good people, we will rise from this. One of the best things anyone on the outside can do in response to this is to be kind to someone today. And then again tomorrow. And again and again and again. :)

  102. Mary says...

    Thanks for acknowledging this, Joanna. Along with helping in the concrete ways you mentioned, it means a lot to me to connect with other people who feel the same way. <3 <3 <3