Relationships

A Moment of Silence

Joanna Goddard and Anton

After the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, yesterday, we want to take a day of silence on Cup of Jo.

Yesterday, a single person killed at least 17 people, including children and adults. As Jason Kottke pointed out, more than 33,000 people die from gun violence each year, and guns that can fire dozens of rounds a minute are legal.

It’s hard to know what to say after such a devastating tragedy. When I dropped Toby and Anton off at school this morning, and they scampered into their classrooms, my heart broke for the families of the victims. How would you even begin to survive the loss of your child? Sending so much love to everyone who was directly affected, and those in grief today.

And yet. Here are five ways to help, including giving blood (no matter where you live) and donating money to reputable organizations. We donated to the victims’ fund, as well as Everytown for Gun Safety to fight for common sense gun laws. Please let us know if you have other ideas of how to help.

Three articles worth reading:
The United States of Guns
How to Reduce Shootings
After Sandy Hook

“Let’s get started and save lives,” writes Nicholas Kristof. “Let’s not accept that school classrooms can turn any moment into war zones.”

Lots of love, as always. xoxo

  1. Genie says...

    I love your blog and almost agree always agree with what you write and the thoughtful way that you do what you do. A year and half ago, I moved from NYC to NC. Through circumstance and good fortune, I’ve gotten to really spend some time in rural North Carolina. The people I’ve met are genuinely wonderful and it’s been as much of an adventure as any I’ve ever taken abroad. I’ve unwillingly listened to FoxNews a lot and also pro-gun right public radio. I’m slowly beginning to gain a new understanding on this issue. As a mom, I couldn’t understand how any mom could support gun ownership. However, all parents universally want one thing: to keep their children safe. Some do it through advocacy against the NRA and some through keeping guns at home. The truth is that no one really knows how to do the impossible task of guaranteeing that our children are never hurt. I agree with everyone’s comments that sensible gun regulation, mental health awareness and a whole slew of other complicated factors play into this issue but I also think that it’s time we gave some thought as to why gun ownership feels like such an important right to so many Americans.

  2. m says...

    After hearing Mr. Andrew Pollack, who lost his daughter in the Florida shooting, and was a guest at a listening session at the White House…
    Mr. Pollack’s next step must be to begin a class action suit against Rubio, Scott, the N.R.A. and the N.R.A.’s entire spineless G.O.P. party for: infringement on his constitutional rights in unlawful favor of another’s 2nd amendment rights AND felony charges for for aiding and abetting a murderer, reckless endangerment, misuse of public funds, and use of N.R.A. “campaign” contributions for personal and private gain AND unlawful political activity.
    We must remove these people from office. Now.

  3. Hello,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. They resonate with so many people especially parents of young children like myself. I have a 4-year-old. I recently started a blog as a way to discover myself and find my purpose. I wasn’t sure if it was ok to share too much and to talk about things that are important to me. Would I be judged negatively? Would people stop reading? After reading your post, I realize that being true to myself comes at a cost but it’s worth it because it’s the right thing to do. Thank you for your brave opinion.

  4. Bets says...

    TSA-style metal detectors and body scanners? And the sale of every firearm or accesssory for a firearm should include a tax to help fund the metal detectors. Ive thought about this a lot and admit that I have no background in government budgets, so something like this may not be feasable (and the TSA lines … what would that do to the school day?). But we need to think beyond changing the laws – because our elected government officials can’t do it. They won’t do it. We see this again and again after every mass shooting. We have to be more creative and do something else. I’m emailing my Congress people today. Please friends, reach out to yours too.

    • Nikki B says...

      Elected officials can’t even get a line in the budget for teacher supplies, like pencils. The fact that they throw around TSA style scanners is laughable. (not laughing at you or your comment Bets, just laughable in general).

      Where would they possibly get the money for that?

    • Bets says...

      I know :/ I was just thinking how changing the laws haven’t worked – how else can we ensure the safety of kids at school. Maybe it’s just taking the TSA’s approach – stopping each person entering the building and not letting them proceed without being checked and showing proper ID. Idk. There’s definitely room for more discussion but since Congress STILL can’t get their act together (from yesterday – https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/20/us/florida-legislature-weapons-ban/index.html) this should be on the table too.

  5. Leigh says...

    Fantastic, great post, Joanna.
    I live in France but lived in the US for many years. I work in an industry of trying to create change, but I hate to be pessimistic on this: the US has become a divided, angry nation that can’t seem to save itself. From high depression rates, opioid addiction, to racism, police brutality, a divide between the rich and the poor that is completely absurd and skewed, obesity, poverty, mental illness, gun ownership to addiction to technology, plastic and cars, the US has gone in the wrong direction for so many years, many people who are Americans or used to live in the US feel they will never move back. I think if Sandy Hook did not change things, and there is shooting after shooting in schools, while EVERYONE KNOWS HOW TO FIX THIS PROBLEM, it is not getting fixed, and it may never get fixed. The NRA controls half the US Government, the president of the US is a complete moron, and children continue to die in their schools. It is angering and saddening and deeply deeply disturbing. I love the US but hate seeing what it has become to the world and to its people. RIP little ones. The rest of the world hopes you did not die in vain. I am sorry to sound angry but no child should die in their school, whether you live in a rich or poor country. I hope Americans continue to show their anger and fight for change. Do not vote for people who get money from the NRA, first of all. Look at what other countries did to eliminate school shootings. Other countries have similar rates of mental illness, but no mass shootings. This is simpler to figure out than you think. In Europe when we kiss our kids goodbye in front of school, we worry about bullying, if they will eat their greens, if they bring home lice or the stomach bug, or if the education is preparing them for a complicated future in the work world. We do NOT worry about a student bringing an assault rifle and killing innocent children. Much love from France xxo

  6. Joanna-the way you handle tradegies on your blog is done with such grace and wisdom. Several times I have opened up your page after sad headline news stories and you have addressed it head on. I don’t generally considering reading a blog necessarily media but your words are such a breath of fresh air in the smog of stories. I appreciate the thought and approach you take here. Thank you for providing links to how we can help in what feels like a helpless and never ending situation.

  7. Me says...

    You really think some one with a pro-gun right wing opinion, don’t care about the death of children? Please don’t.

    I cried for these children and so did everyone I know.

    I love this blog, I am one of the right wing Republicans that read this blog. I wonder how many of us there actually are.

    I am pro gun laws. But do think the needs to be reformed to an extent, no one needs a semi automatic.

    My father comes from the Middle East where gun laws are extremely restricted, to a point where you can not feel safe in your own county, because you don’t know know who is in charge, one day the government is nice, one day the government is out to kill you, and you have no way of protecting yourself. It is about not being controlled, and being able to resist if the government is being immoral.

    CupofJo is never negative about the Republicans and here views, rather they suggust ways to support their veiws. The comments are shocking sometimes. Because I view this community as thinking and loving women. Who have an open.mind enough that we don’t all have to be the same to.love each other.

    • Me says...

      The problem is caused by many factors, but one that would have a major impact is simply reinstating the bans on assault rifles and very large magazines. My mother is fr thr rural South who grew up with guns, hunting and target-shooting, (yes a Texan married an Iranian, they had beautiful children ;) ) and EVERYONE says that there is no rational reason for someone outside the military to have an AR-15, or for bump stocks and large magazines to be sold freely. If you’re a rotten-enough shot that you can’t hit a deer with a standard rifle, you shouldn’t be trusted with a gun in the first place.

      And an AR-15 isn’t something you want for home defense, either, because it shoots through your average wall and would likely kill your next-door neighbor or family member in the next room.

      My point is, if we really want to make this happen, and have an impact. We have to be ONE with this. Not make it us against them. No one wants child to die, no one wants schools to feel unsafe. But to change the second amendment, is a serious threat to the first …

      Again, if we take sides, nothing will change.

      We should all vote for stricter gun laws. But it has to be in a way that you have more than half the nations support.

      I know it surprises a lot of people from the East coast and West coast, but most of America doesn’t live in a big city, they live on dirt roads, work the land… and yes, have guns.

      (And side point since I am already on a ramble and not sure if people will actually read this, no shootings happen in these rural places, because we teach gun safety. But seirously. My father leaves around his hand gun just to see if we will respond appropaitely (not to touch it and to tell my father right away).

    • Joanna (Not That One) says...

      The post did not use the word Republican. If you support common sense gun laws, then why do you seem to feel targeted by this post?

      By the way, 80% of the U.S. population lives in urban areas according to the Census. It is absolutely untrue that shooting do not happen in rural areas (??), and it is wildly irresponsible of your father to leave his gun just hanging around (seriously, you are holding this up as an example of being well-trained in gun safety???).

    • Milla says...

      You said that the right wing does care about children dying. Maybe normal people do. But the fact that those politicians are the ones not doing anything to prevent these shootings says to me- a high schooler- that they value the second amendment over my life, my friends’ life, my brother’s life. they have continually refused to pass legislation after these tragedies. It is their job to ensure that the citizens’ rights to LIFE, LIBERTY, AND PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS are protected. As a child, when you see other children murdered in their classrooms, you sit in your classroom and think, wow, my government wouldn’t care if I died. They aren’t doing anything about it. That’s the world I’ve grown up in. That’s why my generation is so angry.

    • Me says...

      Dear Joanna – not that one – I didn’t feel at all targeted by the post, I said I love how CupofJo writes, and I am a huge fan.

      Most comments where comforting to read, but some made it seem like people don’t care about children dieing.

      My point was that some people are super judgey when you tell them you are right wing.

      And I do think it is a good lesson is gun safety, because he wanted to see how we would respond in a real life situation. He was watching us, he didn’t leave the house, just left the gun out to see if we really understood how to respect a weapon.

    • Leslie says...

      It takes 5 seconds for a child to kill herself or another person with a gun, and then that child will bear responsibility for that her whole life (if she’s not the one who died). It’s EXTREMELY irresponsible to continue to insist that leaving a gun in reach of kids is just fine and dandy if you are in the house. You seem to be doubling down. Please don’t. Please honestly think about what you are saying and be able to admit when you are wrong. Our politicians can’t do that, so at least be better than they are.

    • Me says...

      To Leslie- I don’t think I am wrong. But I respect your option to think I am wrong. I was wrong about how many people live in cities though, as Joanna pointed out. But know I know :)

      And I don’t know what “doubling down” means.

  8. I think we need to secure the schools !
    This is the fastest way to insure nothing like this happens again.
    Fencing, designated controlled access, metal detectors and armed guards and teachers who are fully trained and licensed to carry. Professional guards. The shooters would think many times before trying to come on a campus where they knew they would encounter return fire.
    Fully automatic rifles, like our military use, are not legal to sell or purchase in our country. The AR15, which means ARMALITE RIFLE, not automatic or assault rifle, only fires once when you pull the trigger. If you hold the trigger down, nothing happens. Secure the schools first, then figure out what’s next to make our country save for all of us.

    • Nikki B says...

      Most of the teachers I know including myself, can’t remember to put a cap on a whiteboard marker- I would NEVER want to be responsible for the safety on a gun around 28 nine year olds.

      In urban areas where so many students have gun related trauma, how could they LEARN knowing there is a gun around them (that might have been similar to the one used to kill their friend, parent or sibling).

      Teachers can’t get pencils. We can’t get curriculum. We can’t get therapists. We can’t get social workers but they could get us armed guards and metal detectors. No way.

    • Milla says...

      this school had an armed security guard, they were super trained to deal with fire, active shooters, etc. It sounds way more prepared than my school honestly, and still there were 17 dead. The thing is you shouldn’t have to prepare for a preventable tragedy like this.
      And also, seriously? Teachers with guns?? I would not trust that. Teachers are under a lot of pressure, they can snap too you know. I would feel SO unsafe in a classroom with a gun.

  9. Lilly says...

    It’s so completely devastating, my heart goes out to Americans (Canadian here). The worst part to me is the frequency. I had to run numbers, because it’s just astounding to me what you’re living with, and this helps me wrap my brain around it.

    So: there have been 8 school/campus shootings resulting in death or injury so far this year (18 discharged weapons incidents by the Everytown count). In 33 school days for 2018 so far (ie weekdays, no major holidays). That’s every fourth day, or 24% of school days.

    Will this be back in the news next Wednesday? Will that rate continue for the rest of the school year? I really, really hope something changes.

    Thanks for the suggestions for things to do to help, CoJ team. ❤️

  10. Denise Rodriguez says...

    As a Parkland resident, who is lucky enough to have her son away at school, it breaks my heart all the suffering my community is going through. I am in absolute shock that this happened here. I thought being raised in NYC I’d be immune to it all I am not. I am sad over these shootings, sad over the shooters circumstances, sad over our country’s hypocrisy , sad over the power of the NRA, just so sad. I vote all the time and it just feels like its not enough. how many parents after sandy hook were ignored in the media when they tried to change laws? I love that our kids are so outspoken with their demands for change but we need leadership, where is it?

  11. sasha says...

    3 things.
    1. #menext? campaign, kids speaking out and standing up, share the hell of this.
    2. Nationwide strike until legislation for gun control is passed. EVERYONE with a conscience walks out. Guys, there are tens of millions of us, don’t tell me this won’t work.
    3. Boycott of all complained making/selling these weapons. AND boycott of all corporations who stay silent. Speak out NOW for gun control or we boycott.
    Our politicians will only act if we force them into a corner and shareholders are screaming louder than the NRA in calling in their bribes. $$ is all any of them care about.

    • sasha says...

      *corporations.

      Can’t read through my tears and anger.

    • Claudia says...

      I love these comments here. Unlike on Twitter or Instagram, I am actually seeing people respond here with solutions, honest questions that are that being answered respectfully. I am so happy to see this. I’m from the Netherlands, where I would not even know where to begin if I want to get my hands on a gun. Nobody here owns a gun. I have a hammer under my bed just to be sure, but teenagers here can’t get guns. I think only Police, and if you are part of a club but then you’re not allowed to have the gun at home. You leave it in a locker at the shooting club. We don’t have mass shootings or school shootings. We had one incident years ago in a supermarket, but that is the only thing I can remember. There are so many solutions in this thread, but looking in from the outside I see that the problem is that a few very rigid people and a rich organization who buy off politicians (how that is legal, by the way, I can’t fathom. Can anyone explain to me why senators are allowed to accept money from an organization like the NRA?) Isn’t that just a pay off? I need to find out how this works in the Netherlands, but since it’s such a non issue here, I don’t even know. I love the US and I visit often, but I do hope this situation changes. It’s a very scary thought then when I’m there people on the street wear guns, people in hotels, cinemas, and other public places have guns on them. Any one of them could snap or have bad intentions. Literally no one here has a gun on them or in their homes. Sorry for the rant… I’m angry too. Dying children is a global issue. It might also give people who are part of legal shooting clubs here ideas. I want a safe world for everyone.

  12. Remember that old Sting song, Russians? “I hope the Russians love their children too.” When we we love our children enough?

  13. J says...

    Joanna-the way you handle tradegies on your blog is done with such grace and wisdom. Several times I have opened up your page after sad headline news stories and you have addressed it head on. I don’t generally considering reading a blog necessarily media but your words are such a breath of fresh air in the smog of stories. I appreciate the thought and approach you take here. Thank you for providing links to how we can help in what feels like a helpless and never ending situation.

  14. BLG says...

    When we look back at Columbine, we as a nation were utterly shocked. This was something new and unexpected, unseen and unheard of happening in our schools.
    Besides the definite need to create better gun laws, we need to stop sticking our heads in the sand after every shooting. These are not going away. They are increasing. We need to be vigilant, pay attention to our school communities. This recent shooting shows we are not doing enough in our daily lives to prevent this from happening. The ball was clearly dropped. Warning signs were there. Now what are we going to do about them next time?

  15. Daisy says...

    I simply can’t understand why would any family need more than 1 gun and that too automatic rifles? Why should it be so easy to buy these automatic rifles. This Country was founded on the principles of Equality for all but it took over 100 plus years to abolish slavery, allow women and African Americans to right. I know our Constitution allows everyone to carry firearms. Just like the concept of equality changed over time, isn’t this time to look at gun ownership as well? Why should it we all risk children’s lives to protect someone else’s second amendment. If mental health is causing all these shootings and not GUNS, why isn’t there any law to examine one’s mental health status before letting them buy a gun? Even driver’s license we have to renew every 3 years? How about mandatory mental health checkups every year for gun owners to determine it is safe for them to own a gun? How about some additional checks for someone who buys large rounds of ammunition and multiple guns?

    I feel like one’s has to jump through the hoops to even buy multiple bottles of Cough syrup yet anyone can walk in and out and buy multiple guns with no problem.

    • Corinne says...

      “why would any family need more than 1 gun”. I’m bewildered by this. Why does a family even need one gun??? Us Australians just shake our heads in disbelief.

    • sasha says...

      Very well said Daisy.

    • Daisy says...

      @ Corinne,

      Sorry, I have not been coherent. I asked why do families need more than 1 gun only because someone else had commented they need multiple guns in their household because they hunt. Also because I can’t see NO guns happening here in the US at all, as somehow people see it as their birth right and become extremely defensive. So atleast if we prevented people from getting multiple guns, make it very difficult to own a gun (exams, multiple health, mental checkups, making sure all prior history like domestic violence or issues with law come up in background checks, random checks on how the equipment is stored at home) etc then we will definitely see a reduction in the number of mass shootings.

      What a tragedy it is for these kids who witnessed these shootings to be scarred for their rest of the lives. The ones who survived with injuries, who is going to pay for their long term health expense? I am not sure why we don’t have studies on the economical impact on the healthcare issues that needs to be addressed for the survivors.

      My own mom was killed during an attempted robbery. She was stabbed. It took years for our family to recover. Yet I can confidently say that Presence of a gun in our home would not have saved her. Shame on those who use this argument to support gun ownership. I would like to know how many studies have been done to assess the benefit vs risk ratio of gun ownership. In my opinion, the risk of getting shot down by these senseless incidences far outweighs the benefits of protecting oneself with a gun

    • Claudia says...

      I am so terribly sorry for what happened to your family.

    • Emma says...

      Yes I thought that too Corinne.

    • Tricia says...

      I am so sorry for your loss. Personally I would vote so hard for any politician that just said “yes we’re taking the guns” instead of constantly placating a group of people who seem increasingly unhinged and the last people who should be owning guns.

  16. jen says...

    Joanna, thank for this. I’ve been numb. A tee shirt that helps the cause, and I also donated to my local person running for the senate.

  17. C. says...

    I’m an Australian who spent about 5 years living in the US with my husband and small daughter.

    We decided to go back to Australia rather than send our daughter to school in the US. We just weren’t willing to risk having her not come home one day while people continued to debate ‘where the problem is’.

    The problem is with guns. It’s not hard to understand. Get rid of all of them in your homes. In Australia we defend our homes in a million other ways (guard dogs, alarm systems and proper locks, know your neighbours, self defense training, knives and bats or other weapons that aren’t guns).
    Having your child die from a shooting at school here just doesn’t happen and we feel safe in knowing our government can get it’s sh*t together we’ll enough to enact immediate change.

    The other day I had to explain to my daughter (now 7) why that boy in Floria took a gun to school and killed people on purpose. She’s now terrified of schools in America; probably rightfully so.

    • C. says...

      I will add that even in Australia it’s permissable to own a gun in a rural home, after passing a number of checks and having a special license.
      It is possible to get this right, and it’s not difficult.

  18. Chelsey P-E says...

    Here is an interesting article on how gun laws in Canada would have (or in some cases wouldn’t have) stopped some of the mass shooting that have happened in the US.

    Our laws are far from perfect but it illustrates well how legal reform could help.

    Much love and peace from Canada 💓

  19. Jennifer says...

    There should be an organization like Emily’s List for politicians running on a pro-gun control platform. That makes it easier for people to fund and support candidates who are willing to take action.

    Hey, gay marriage seemed like a pipe dream a couple of years ago. Trans women being elected seemed like a crazy idea (and in Virginia and Minneapolis of all places), not to mention a black president???

    Common sense gun control can happen people. It needs to happen.

    • jen says...

      It’ll never happen, but I would support Australia’s severe gun laws. ‘Common sense’ is used not to offend the gun nuts, who will be offended anyway.

    • Leslie says...

      It will happen. If you say it will never happen, you are part of the problem, whether you mean to be or not.

  20. Michelle Neary says...

    Hi Jo,
    Great post. I also think that we should call on our schools boards to have better action plans for children who exhibit violent behavior. If a school has noticed a child is troubled then they should be obliged to facilitate the proper medical and social treatment of that child. We need schools to alert the proper systems such as mandatory counseling and social services checks to identify and defuse troubled students. There should also be a school hotline to call if you are worried about a troubled classmate. It could link students to school counselors. Let’s not turn away from the ill & hope for the best. We need to address this part of the problem and our responsibility to act if we notice someone is “off”. Let’s all call our school boards and mandate change at the local level.

  21. Cynthia says...

    I teach at campus style high school, and anybody can get on the campus at anytime. If we see people without a visitor’s badge, we are supposed to stop them and direct them to the office. We have a police officer and a campus security person, but that’s not enough. When this school was built over 50 years ago, the world was a different place. Even in totally enclosed schools, a student will open a door for a person whether he/she knows that person or not, even though students have been instructed not to open a door for anyone.

  22. Kelly says...

    I feel so passionate about this issue and it isn’t even my country. As a Canadian neighbour, it is heartbreaking to watch as these news stories continue to unfold. I really do worry about the health of your country. I love articles like yours that give people pointed actions to take. Enough of people just talking! Take a look around the world and ask why these mass shootings only occur in the United States. It’s gun laws. Mental illness occurs in all countries, all walks of life. But it’s the gun access that separates the outcomes between the nations. It’s incredibly sad to think that as a parent, I wouldn’t feel safe sending my child to school in the United States. I really appreciate articles like yours.

  23. Ann-Marie says...

    So angry at all of this. Another angle to fight is to change the laws so the NRA can’t bribe Congress. Check out these numbers (published in Oct. 2017):
    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/10/04/opinion/thoughts-prayers-nra-funding-senators.html

    This applies to many more problems in this country. The fact that it’s legal for our representatives who VOTE on our laws to receive millions of dollar from groups and causes is such blatant bribery, I can’t even wrap my head around it. WHY is this legal?!

  24. Suz says...

    A Canadian commenting. Like everyone else, completely saddened that this has happened AGAIN.
    Two thoughts:
    Perhaps these lobby donations (NRA) above a certain amount should be called exactly what they are: Corruption. There must be federal laws against that?
    Maybe a nation wide strike might spark some legislative action?

    • PJ says...

      A nationwide strike of teachers, students, and parents might wake up our representatives to what the American people want.

    • Addie says...

      This is for the comment below. A nationwide strike could be powerful, but the responsibility cannot land on teachers, families, and kids- currently the most vulnerable people in school shootings. The responsibility has to sit with anyone who is an ally to victims of gun violence.

    • sasha says...

      Absolutely, all for a nationwide strike, for anyone and everyone with a conscience who wants to see these shootings end. We have to effect our economic system for politicians to care. That’s how corrupted they are. Boycotts of all companies that sell these weapons. Boycotts of all corporations who won’t publicly speak for gun control.

      Also, the kids are on board, have you seen the #menext?campaign? Powerful.

  25. Michelle says...

    Thank you for posting this. I totally agree that guns that fire dozens of rounds per minute should be illegal. It should be harder to buy guns, and there should be requirements for how they are stored. It shouldn’t be legal to purchase a gun without a background check, or gift a gun to someone (even in one’s own family) without that person undergoing a background check. Then of course, people with a history of domestic or animal abuse should not be allowed to have guns.

    There are a lot of things we can do to prevent these sorts of tragedies from happening again, but we don’t need to take away all guns. I see several comments here asking why anyone needs to own a gun. My family owns lots so I can tell you the reasons. First, hunting. We kill and eat a lot of our own meat and it’s much more humane and healthy than anything you can buy in stores. Second, protection. When you live in a rural area, it could take police 30 minutes to respond. The reason there are not more burglaries is that everyone has guns and potential thieves are deterred. We are not going to get anywhere if we say “take away all the guns!” and that’s not necessary to prevent things like this from happening anyway.

    • LMK says...

      Thanks for posting about life in a rural area. I am also from a family that hunts. I am from rural Ohio (now in SC) and I think being able to show that there is such a thing as responsible gun ownership is so necessary. And I also believe that there should be all sorts of laws, safety precautions and yes, in some cases, making it illegal to own certain types of firearms.

    • t says...

      I agree 100% with everything you said in both paragraphs.

    • Lizzie says...

      I’m always baffled by the “protection” stand point. I am Christian, so this could bias my point of view, but it would be impossible for me to kill another human. I cannot be responsible for the judgement of whether or not someone should live or die, and cannot fathom having access to guns to make this split second decision. If you feel paranoid for your safety, is there a way for you to live somewhere safer? I am genuinely confused by this argument and usually can’t get more than “it’s my right” as a response.

    • m says...

      I appreciate your comment but do not understand your logic.
      If NO ONE owns a gun NO ONE needs to defend themselves.
      As far as hunting, try a bow and arrow.
      I know this sounds extreme to you but we are in extreme circumstances.
      This must end now.

    • Michelle says...

      To Lizzie, my entire family is conservative Christian. Luckily they have never had to do it, but I think the moral choice is pretty clear if someone has broken into your home and is threatening you and your family. In fact, several men at their church carry handguns and stay vigilant near the front of the building during services considering the many church shootings we’ve had in the US. I think it’s immoral to not be prepared to defend a vulnerable population.

      To M, some of my family members do hunt with a bow and arrows but it’s hard! It requires a lot of strength and skill that most people cannot master. Hunting rifles are not the problem, assault weapons and the devices that you can use to modify a weapon into an assault weapon are.

      Finally, to anyone saying that if nobody has guns then you don’t need them for protection – maybe that argument would convince people like my family after many decades when the government has successfully collected all the guns already in circulation. Until then, they are not going to trust anyone but themselves for their own protection.

    • Lady T says...

      I wonder if you and your family would be comfortable doing the tests and getting a license? Most farmers and rural people in Australia have guns for hunting and culling. I don’t know that it needs to be all or nothing, but maybe just registered, responsible ownership?

    • Anonymous says...

      THINGS are not more important than someone’s life. Period. YOUR things are not more important than someone’s life. You do not have the right to shoot someone unless your LIFE is in danger – THAT is what is wrong with American gun laws. American’s stuff is never, ever going to be more important than lives – even the lives of a thief. You should NOT feel confident in making that choice, and that is why people need to go through background and mental health checks before even owning a gun. If you think your fear of losing your stuff might be more significant than taking someones life… urghhhh what a nightmare. Makes me feel so so hopeless.

    • Agnes says...

      First, I’m Canadian and my boyfriend owns hunting guns. Locked away in the strongest safe money can buy, to which only he has the combo. I’m not excited about him having guns, but he’s been hunting all his life and we live in a rural area, so it’s part of life here. He is adamant, as am I, that NO ONE needs automatic weapons. No one, unless you’re a soldier in war. Second, I’ve been the victim of gun crime (armed robbery in my home) in another country (which one? .. is not the point. But not Canada). If I’d had a gun to ‘defend’ myself in that situation? Someone would have died. No one did. Thank God. Yes, yes and yes to the person who said that YOUR STUFF does not warrant ANYONE’S life being ended. I lost a lot of my stuff that day but guess what, I’m still here and so are the thieves, because I didn’t try to gun battle someone! My stuff is peanuts compared to a life! Even a rape (thank God didn’t happen) would not equal anyone’s life being lost.

    • Michelle says...

      I’m not sure how people came to the conclusion that we protect our stuff with guns. No, we do not care about our stuff, and in fact don’t have that much of it. We care about our lives and that is what we are protecting. Yes, our guns are registered and kept in a large, locked safe. Yes, we have “taken the courses” and regularly practice shooting because it’s not a skill you can keep up by doing it just once a year. Of course to someone who is not experienced in handling weapons, the thought of defending yourself with one is scary. Not to people who shoot them regularly and who are responsible gun owners. No, we don’t have automatic weapons because of course we don’t need them for hunting or anything else. Like I said, I’m supportive of a variety of measures – banning assault weapons, better background checks, standards for gun storage, making sure that people with a history of domestic or animal abuse can’t buy guns (since that is actually the biggest risk factor in predicting future violence, not mental health issues), etc. I am a liberal feminist who is just trying to explain why a large chunk of conservative America immediately ends the conversation when you start talking about taking away all guns. I think it’s a perspective we need to hear more often.

  26. Jennifer says...

    I came across this 2015 article on WaPo: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/10/15/most-gun-owners-dont-belong-to-the-nra-and-they-dont-agree-with-it-either/?utm_term=.03499d03814d

    It’s a little older, but it was eye-opening to me to see that the NRA’s power isn’t necessarily in numbers or money, but in how successful it is at mobilizing voters. (Info on congressional members accepting NRA funding: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/10/04/opinion/thoughts-prayers-nra-funding-senators.html)

    The author extrapolated that the 5 million NRA members compose only about 7% of gun owners in the US. – not even close to a majority!

    Pew research conducted in 2013 showed that 74% of actual NRA members support background checks for private gun and show sales and even a third of NRA members support a ban on assault-style weapons!

    Of course all of this data can be massaged one way or the other (maybe there area lot of non-NRA members who support NRA ideologies but just don’t want to or can’t pay fees, maybe they define assault-style weapons as machine guns and bazookas not the AR-15 used in Vegas and Florida, etc.) but even with all of that, I think it really highlights the importance of registering and voting. The NRA is not the all-powerful conglomerate controlling America that it may seem like.

    Only a little over half of eligible voters voted in 2016 and even less typically vote in their state elections. The NRA is just really good at getting their minority voice heard and it helps when other people don’t show up at the polls. If you ever felt like your vote doesn’t matter, now is a really good time to challenge that thought. Register and vote. Your vote could be the difference between “thought and prayers” for dead children and actual policy change.

  27. Kristin says...

    One thing I feel like we don’t hear enough about is building consciousness of how our investments/401Ks/pensions are funding gun manufacturers (and consequently, the gun lobby). Many of us are financially supporting their cause without realizing it. You can check https://goodbyegunstocks.com/ to quickly see if your investment funds are going to gun makers (and to get recommendations for alternate funds that don’t support them).

  28. Emelia says...

    Just heard the statistic that over 150,000 students in the US have now been a witness to a school shooting. Insane! Wonder how this is shaping them…

    • BLG says...

      That is a staggering statistic! And we wonder why teens are experiencing so much anxiety these days. When I picture the teacher trying to bar her classroom door and save her students, I just want to cry.

  29. The idea that we need to be vigilant about the mental health of others is such a false responsibility for victims. You can’t report that someone is a loner. You can’t report that someone makes you feel uncomfortable in your gut. You can report violent, or racist, or otherwise scary social media posts, but unless a direct threat is made law enforcement can’t really do anything about them. We absolutely need better mental health care in this country. That is painfully obvious, but we can’t go around locking up people who seem a little off. Many, many people live with mental illness and never hurt anyone. We can, however, limit access to guns and limit the kinds of guns available. I hate the argument that bad people will always have guns, the styles of guns used in these shootings are already on the streets, etc. If we stop one mass shooting isn’t that worth it? What if we stopped access for this one person? That would have saved 17 lives. Not to mention that many of these school shootings are committed by teenagers not career criminals. I’m sure there might be some 17 year olds who could find guns on the black market, but I assume most of them can’t.

    • Michelle Neary says...

      I think that schools can and should be able to report such individuals to psychiatric and social services. We can do better!

    • PJ says...

      As teachers we ask for help with children who are clearly in distress, sometimes as early as kindergarten and first grade. School budgets are limited and help is expensive so kids who need help do not always receive it.

    • MelTown says...

      Oh, I can see how that was unclear. What I meant was that we can’t call the FBI because someone seems strange, or lock up individuals who haven’t committed a crime. We absolutely can and should seek help for the troubled (and we need to do better on both a personal and national level).

  30. Kristie Dahlia Home says...

    Thank you. I see many asking for mor coverage, and have a resource to suggest: if you are not already familiar with the extraordinary oeuvre of the photographer Giles Duley, I accor suggest it warmly enough. His photography is breathtaking, his mission for peace is sincere. He lost 3 limbs to an IED and continues to work and to seek aid for families in war zones. I feel certain you would adore him and his work.

  31. Thank you for taking a moment to acknowledge the gun violence issue in our country. I posted on my instagram a while back that I heard the gunfire break out at the Congressional shooting just down my street in June of last year while home with my children who were just under 2 and 4 at the time. I was taken aback by how many times my older child asked about ‘the weapon’ and if they ‘got the guy’ based on the few spontaneous phone calls I had as we were trying to figure out what was going on outside. A few months later, across the country, one of my husband’s best friends was on the same floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel on the day of the Las Vegas shooting and had his door broken in by police to get him to safety. We didn’t even know of his experience until I saw him speaking to a reporter on the news. I am at a loss for words on the devastation families have faced due to gun violence that hit much closer than our own experiences. Thank you to the readers who posted information on where we can focus our energy on gun violence. I look forward to learning more about these resources.

  32. Liz says...

    Can I just thank all the CoJ readers for being here? It honestly feels like America is a sick country that cannot recover, and it starts to feel so lonely being surrounded by outrageous and immoral policies and the deep ignorance of the people who perpetuate them. But then I come here and remember that there are intelligent, sensible, compassionate people out there and that together we can someday make change. Thank you ALL for the reminder.

    • Christy says...

      Yes!!! We’re still here and we AREN’T GOING AWAY!!!!

    • Misha says...

      Your comment made me cry, Liz. You put words on how I feel.

    • Tricia says...

      <3

  33. Laura B says...

    Every time this happens somewhere in the US, back here in Europe everyone is simply baffled. How can guns STILL be legal? How many more citizens have to die? And it angers me so much that so many people there reclaim with such entitlement their supposed ‘right’ to have killing machines at home. It’s outrageous, it leaves me at a loss for words, such corruption and warping of the concept of ‘freedom’.

    Much solidarity to all USians who are fighting for gun control. Well done Cup of Jo.

  34. a says...

    To the amoral elected officials who accept donations from the N.R.A -at this moment, Mark Rubio and Rick Scott are glaring examples of this spinelessness:
    This is not going away.
    I am 61 years old and have never been more inspired by the resilience and independence of youth.
    Thank you Cameron Kasky and your fellow students for taking a stand.
    #NeverAgain

  35. Emily says...

    Thank you, Joanna. <3

  36. Lindsay says...

    For most of us, It seems to be impossible to predict when a mentally ill person will hurt others. For those close to people showing signs, it’s thier responsibility to do something. My brother had a pychotic break and was very paranoid, delusional and unpredictable. My parents tried hard to get him checked into a hospital but they would not keep him. He ended up jumping off a bridge without even pausing a moment. Also, the only tangible thing we can actually do to make a difference right this second is gun control. When will the leaders of this country choose the right way? I am starting to feel hopeless, nothing ever changes…..and there should be armed police officers at every school to protect the children!!

    • Christy says...

      I am so sorry for the loss of your brother. As a therapist it is deeply painful to know that others are suffering and being turned away by the only places that could help. Something much change or this will continue.

  37. Annalee says...

    Jo, please keep writing articles like this. Please. You and your team have a voice and reach so many readers every single day. Please continue educating us on what we can do in our communities, our states, our country. We need this epidemic of school shootings to stop. Interview a politician, an activist, a survivor, a grieving family member – I would love to hear from all of these people what we can do.

    • Laura B says...

      YES. I would read and share the crap out of interviews of activists and survivors.

    • Kirsten says...

      AGREEEEEE

  38. I have a seriously hard time understanding why would anyone want to own a gun in the first place, unless you’re OK with the idea that you can inflict pain and/or cause someone’s death. And that is not OK by me. I don’t live in the States, but it seems to me that this is a serious ongoing (for decades now) problem that needs immediate attention. But honestly, I don’t see much done in that direction. So, how can you live in such terror? How do you cope? It’s all senseless to me, and I can’t begin to imagine the grief of those families who suffer now…

  39. Louise says...

    I live in Southern Georgia where guns are everywhere, we even have a ridiculous law by that actual name. I hate guns, so it’s a lonely place to live. Here you are considered irresponsible for NOT having a gun. It’s madness. Someone made the point on another site that all of the gun control orgs should merge, so they’re not constantly competing for funds and attention. NRA is one powerful behemoth. Gun control needs it’s own powerful behemoth.

    • Emily says...

      Louise, I can relate to your frustration on a local level too. I live in North Florida and also hate guns. I grew up in a small country town where it was always assumed that everyone owned a gun. Now that I am an adult, I often get looks of scorn from relatives and friends who find out I am anti-gun and do not own one. They think of them as “protection”, but how many times have any of them been assaulted or had their homes broken into while they were home? (Answer: probably close to none of them!).

      I agree that there should be one large gun control organization who has the financial power to lobby politicians. It is sad/embarrassing/appalling that money is what it takes to get your issue in front of lawmakers to make them take a stand. But something HAS to be done to make a change in this country.

  40. Kaitlin says...

    Thank you for this. I have been deliberating on this for years and since none of our leaders will take action…I think as citizens who care about this issue we need to use the same tool that groups like the NRA use to prevent gun legislation from passing: money. Obviously we cannot line the pockets of our senators like they do, but I think we should stop spending money as an economic protest to their failure to protect us and our children. Only groceries and the bare necessities. If we cull our spending, this will force the hand of our leaders. If money is what motivates these people, then we have to do something with ours.

  41. Carol Maurer says...

    Thank you for your thoughtful words and good suggestions for doing something…fashion is important, food is important but your words today remind us what is most important.

  42. Jessica Nicolosi Slaven says...

    Thank you for these links.

  43. Thank you so much, Joanna.

  44. Anni says...

    Hey, I am a reader from Germany and I would really be interested in the voices that can explain to me why it would be necessary for any private person (besides policemen etc) to own (and carry) a gun. I believe hat laws should be reorganized in a world that just does not function the way it used to function back in the days when the law has been written originally. We have the police now to take care of stuff where you would need a gun. We no longer walk around the prairie and defend our claim with a gun, at least in my opinion we should not. Now, we need to protect the children and the places they spend their days at. And that can only happen if there is a strict gun control. I love the US, I spent a year there as an exchange student in high school, still have many friends there, but I feel the US are on a very very wrong path right now. There are so many questions that just have no real answers (Trump, gun control,…)
    And I am aware that Germany also has a really disturbing past, maybe therefore I am even more concerned and worried in this world right now.
    I feel sad.

    • Marcella says...

      A lot of people keep a gun in the house for protection, in case they need to defend themselves for some reason (someone trying to break in?). I live in Texas which is a gun-toting state (with our ridiculous “open-carry” laws). Growing up, we never had a gun in the house, but my parents recently bought 9 acres of land in a rural-ish area and now my dad and brother both have guns. It’s ridiculous how easy it is to get a gun here. My brother is in college and still 21 and has a gun in his apartment. It’s totally unnecessary and it’s so hard to change the culture in Texas, but even the US since it’s written in our constitution “The right to bear arms.” Just my thoughts on why normal citizens keep a handgun in their house.

    • Anne says...

      Anni, your words really spoke to me and it’s so refreshing to hear an outside opinion (and I also appreciate that you acknowledge Germany’s history – the thing about history is that we’re supposed to learn from it, but I find that’s happening less and less…part of that is because it’s not “cool” to be smart, so we just have a bunch of idiots walking around. I digress.).

      My husband and I made the conscious choice not to have children after the Trump election. This is just not the world I want to bring a person into. I recognize that historically, there have been much darker times, but none of those times had reliable birth control. Ha.

      I also found it really interesting what you said about you have the police for anything you’d need a gun for. As you probably know, it’s recently come to our attention that not all of our police are trustworthy, and there’s a lot of people that, sadly, wouldn’t feel comfortable calling police to help. That, and as everyone points out, “the bad guys are still going to have their guns,” so everyone feels the need to protect themselves. My husband and I do have guns for protection (that’s just how we grew up), but hopefully we never have to use them. :)

  45. Nancy says...

    The students should protest gun violence and inaction by our lawmakers by refusing to go to school until “adults” solve this problem. We are sacrificing our youth. Shameful.

    • Martina says...

      Yesterday I read a comment in a newspaper here in Germany, which was titled: The country which kills its children. There seems to be a sad truth in this.
      My thoughts are with the victims, families and friends. I feel sad for the kids who cannot go to school carefree as they should.

  46. Trishita says...

    I don’t live in America, but it is sad to see the state of affairs there. This epidemic doesn’t seem to stop. I read so many reports and articles on ending Gun violence and all those ideas/suggestions don’t seem to foster any results. In India (where I live), we are living in a society where women are not safe anywhere. There are numerous rape cases that make the headlines every day, girls, women, elderlies, no one seems safe enough. Even 2-month, 5-month babies are not safe.
    Our governments don’t seem to be doing enough. All I can do is offer my prayers and condolences at this tragic time. It is so so sad to hear about these things day after day. So heartbroken!

    • molly says...

      Great article and very true. We all need to be more aware of our fellow citizens and when you see someone’s behavior time and time again showing red flags – say something. I think people are afraid to insult others, but there is just some behavior that shouldn’t be ignored for the sake of being “politically correct”. It is also a shame that if people are keen on doing harm they can find readily available weapons – or even make them. Society fails when there is someone that angry at the world they are willing to do such harm.

    • DC says...

      We, the people should not have to live in a vigilant state at all times. Certainly most people would let authorities know if they knew of someone plotting violence but we can’t watch everybody all the time. Also, the suggested articles state that mass shooting only account for 1.2% of gun deaths in the U.S.

      I have lived overseas and have a lot of international friends who fear coming to our country because of the gun culture and increased likelihood of possible death. It’s just so sad to witness the downfall of a “civil society.”

    • Christie says...

      Absolutely true. But we have seen that in other countries strict gun laws DO stop mass-shootings.

    • Laura B says...

      In Europe we don’t have mass shootings. Ever.

      We still have LOADS of problems, but it’s certainly one worry less. Our children don’t die in their schools, our black citizens don’t die in the streets at the hands of racist vigilantes, our female citizens with abusive husbands sometimes survive the attempts to kill them because the bastards use knives, not guns.

      Inequality and violence won’t go away with gun bans, but that is not the point here.

  47. Laura C. says...

    My thoughts and prayers are with you, American friends. This is still something that I’ll never understand. Never.

  48. Karen says...

    This is so tragic and I cannot imagine how this feels for the people involved.
    I’m from Norway and seeing school massacres happening in USA so often is just unbelievable as the solution is so obvious to us: ban guns. People’s lives are more important.

  49. Maureen says...

    I think people are expecting lawmakers and lobbyists to treat this issue with compassion. But really this is about money. More guns = more money for the NRA & gun manufacturers and in turn the politicians they pay for support. I hope someone can find a way to change that but until that happens sadly things are not going to change in your country

    • Karen says...

      I agree 100% that until we can stop the power and influence of the NRA, real change won’t happen. The politicians who accept money from the NRA are complicit in the violence.

  50. Veronika says...

    I’m from Europe and it is devastating to hear such news….all over again…and again. Becasue yes, it happens in the US more and more often and from here I’m just frustrated and angry why is it still so easy to get a gun over there? Why is it necessary at all? in Europe it’s just unimaginable to keep a gun at home unless you are criminal. It’s just so easy to grab it and do terrible things if that person is mentally broken or just so angry that this is how he works stress. So so sad….

  51. Jill says...

    I have a 13 year old daughter in a public middle school right now, so scared that she is supposed to go to a big public high school in Los Angeles in 2 years. I had to explain to her today that this terrible event could have possibly been stopped if someone went to the principal or police about what was on the shooter’s Instagram. They teach children to be independent, learn to handle different types of people and ignore bullies. So the idea of “see something say something” which they now advocate in schools, feels like tattling. Aside from someone or something actually being harmed, kids are not supposed to “tell”. So I had to give her examples like if she has ever heard a kid laugh about killing animals, or say he has guns at home or talk about killing a teacher etc. We made a pact that she would tell me and I would tell the Principal and no one would know. Ugh. I knew I would have to deal with talking to her about what to do if a boy tries to snap her bra at school, but not a boy trying to kill people at school. This is so utterly utterly sad. There is really nothing to say, do we teach kids to tattle on the “weird” kid? That doesn’t feel right, nothing feels right.

    • Laura says...

      Some of his online content was reported.

    • Carol says...

      thanks, this is helpful. i wish it wasn’t needed… but i think these kinds of conversations can save lives. i have more faith in kids than our political leaders to do something about this.

    • Sarah W says...

      Well, it was reported. You can’t lock someone up, or help someone with mental care if they refuse it, until they do something actually violent. Then it’s too late. He was banned from the campus. What more could the school have done? Lock him up before he committed a crime? That’s not how the law or mental health care works.

  52. Abesha1 says...

    Black man w/ gun= thug
    Brown man w/ gun= terrorist
    White man w/gun= oh, poor sick person.

    Hmmm.

    • Laura says...

      YES.

    • Christie says...

      Exactly.

    • Laura B says...

      Indeed.

    • Also
      Black man w/gun= all black men are thugs
      Brown man w/gun= all brown men are terrorists
      White man w/gun= oh, this poor sick individual

    • Katherine says...

      This is the most telling and most accurate comment here. This sums up the problem with our country’s culture, and the easy access to guns doesn’t help.

  53. Lucy in England says...

    I am furious that, as usual, the colour of his skin means that the shooter isn’t a terrorist, but someone who is just another “loner” with a “tragic background.” He was a member of a white supremacist group who just claimed responsibility for him a la ISIS. These groups are as terrifying as the lack of gun control. From the UK, where people willingly went and handed in their weapons after Dunblane, I just don’t see how to loosen the stranglehold guns have over these people.

    • Lucy in England says...

      To add- we definitely have our own intersectional problem. When Jo Cox was murdered by one of these terrorists that word was resolutely not used. If he’d shouted Allah Akbar instead of Britain first it would have been. Massive hypocrisy.

  54. BJ says...

    As a parent (tangential to the school thing) I have seriously considered asking parents who invite us over for playdates about whether they own guns, and if they answer in the affirmative investigate whether they have proper locks that the kids cannot unlock (and perhaps inform about the shockingly high number of children who know how to unlock their parents’ gun storage without the knowledge of the parent). If we are going to work the cultural angle as well as the legislative angle, we should treat it like drunk driving where we talk about irresponsible gun ownership as unacceptable behavior and teach our children to have the same expectations of responsible gun ownership with anyone they hang out with. Beyond the lack of sensible regulation, it seems like the old cultural norms around responsible gun ownership have eroded. Like most public health crises, the solution is probably going to take many different angles of work in many different arenas. Drunk driving deaths and smoking rates are great examples of how tackling something like this as a public health issue, one layer at a time, can have profound effects over time. Every inch towards change counts. Persistence matters.

    • Leanne says...

      Thank you for raising this as an issue, BJ. With lots of friends and family in law enforcement, we are often in homes with guns – and i know they are secured. We parents talk about it openly because we understand how important it is. When my kids are older, I absolutely plan to ask parents of play dates if there are guns in the house and if they are secure. This should not be taboo and it should not feel so uncomfortable.

    • Kirsten says...

      Yes, ask! Any responsible gun owner wouldn’t be offended by that question.

    • E says...

      I completely agree! I have been anti-gun my whole life, and now live in a house with not one, but two guns, both of which belong to my boyfriend. He is military and wanted to have the weapons he deploys with so he can practice with them more, which makes sense for him. As for me, I think I need to bite the bullet, so to speak, and at least learn the basics of using them safely. If they are going to be in my house I should know how to check if they are loaded and things like that. Of course, they are very securely locked up now, we haven’t been able to find the keys since we moved so I guess my lessons will have to wait! Guns are here, they are not going to go away any time soon and we have to change the way we relate to them.

  55. When I woke up this morning, I thought about the other Florida moms who were facing this morning’s sunrise without their child. That would be the first day since their child was born, that their child would not wake up to. I know how it feels to not share the next day with a sister. It hurts.

    I have 3 children and I am furious that they are not safe in schools. I watched the video of the bereaved mom screaming at Trump on the news and I thought about how that is how I feel, and my kids are still with me today.

    A week ago, Gainesville FL parents got an email saying that schools in 3 Florida counties may be the target of violence and that ours was one of them…but that the source of this information was not a credible source. I looked at it and thought about going to pick my kids up from school. I didn’t. If I got that email today they would have been picked up. I’m so scared for our kids and I find myself leaving love out of my choices when it comes to politicians and lawmakers who refuse to protect our children. I hate them. I don’t want to hate. But maybe this is the only thing that will inspire action in peace loving people…a little bit of hate, despair and fury. And I feel all of those.

  56. Susan M. says...

    As the teenagers of the high school pointed out: the elephant in the room is the guns and access to guns. Not mental illness. Not warning of someone who seemed unstable. None of this violence and death would happen without such easy access to firearms, and to make a finer point, the ridiculous array of merchandise possible to buy including semi-automatics that bring about more deaths. No other country has this problem. No other country has this market. No other country has this number of arms manufacturers and dealers. No other country has such easy access to guns. No citizens of other countries tell themselves how “safe” they are with guns or think somehow their freedom is curtailed by not having guns. Don’t people here see: you have too many guns, period, and you have basically lost whatever freedom that you thought was so essential to your whole identity and standing in the world? If you have the NRA and its lobby, why don’t you form one huge anti-gun lobby? If you know most Americans are for more gun control and reduction of guns, you could create your own massive unified anti-gun lobby and present the clear, united opposition (that politicians apparently won’t provide as so many take money from the NRA).

  57. Kathryn says...

    Thank you Joanna and Cup of Jo team for giving your readers a place to process this tragedy.
    My heart goes out to all those affected.
    I’m a retired teacher and remember how fearful my elementary students were every time a school shooting occurred. I tried my best to allay their fears but as a mom I was just as frightened as they were.
    We all need to stand up and stop this madness! 18 shootings is crazy!

    Actionable items to help you not feel hopeless or powerless:

    Podcast:
    Highly recommend you listen to this excellent, informative podcast.
    Pod Save America’s most recent podcast, “Beat the NRA”
    ( A hopeful sign – in 2017 in Virginia, pro gun control Democrats WON 12 out of 13 races against NRA backed Republican candidates. We CAN beat the NRA.)

    Join SwingLeft.org to win back the House.
    I just signed up for a fundraising event near my town. It feels good to be doing something.

    Vote.org
    Please make sure you are registered to vote and that your friends and family are too. MIDTERMS!!!

    Call your Senators and your Representatives in Congress.
    Ask them, what are you doing right NOW to fight gun violence?
    Tell them you will be voting on this issue in November.

    I just donated to Everytown and joined Moms Demand Action.
    Thanks Joanna for providing this info.

  58. Maggie says...

    I’ve thought a lot about the events of the past days…..all of the suggested solutions, that will never be implemented…and I’ve come to the conclusion that the only thing that maybe of real help is mandatory voting for every of age citizens in our country…
    No voting rights issues, no fancy lines drawn to favor one political party over another. It’s not to much ask of our citizens to vote. I truly believe the majority of Americans can see common sense solutions to many issues…just imaging politicians not being in the grip of special interest, lobbiests and fringe elements but truly beholden to “common sense” citizens.

    • Bec B says...

      Hello,
      I’m from Australia where we have mandatory voting (and pretty strong gun control laws). It doesn’t make our politicians perfect or even particularly good but I do think that in many ways we have a more equitable political system. This is because politicians have to pitch to all citizens (of voting age which is 18) rather than just the people who are traditionally more likely to vote. The system is certainly not without flaws and our Indigenous population often remain at a disadvantage because you still need to register to vote but I do think compulsory voting is a good idea!

  59. Kimberly says...

    I’m a pediatrician who is allowed by law to ask about guns in the house, so I do and then I educate families on gun safety when they answer in the affirmative. Many tune out. Working on a micro-level is important but we all need to start thinking bigger, start figuring out how to influence culture from the top down. Which got me thinking, at what point does complacency become complicit action? Do I need to take some blame for not having been more aggressive in my advocacy? (I do have other children’s causes on which I spend more time.)

    • Laura B says...

      No, you are not to blame. You do everything you can, and that is so much more than most people. Much love x

    • Liz says...

      I just want to thank you for your advocacy, Kimberly. I feel better knowing you and other pediatricians are out there. If we can all work consistently at the micro-level like this it HAS to help somewhat. We have to take it into our own hands as well as pushing our reps. You never know when one person is going to hear you and it’s going to make a difference.

    • I live in Texas and my pediatrician has asked me many times if I live in a home built before the 1970s, and if I have a pool, but she never once has asked me if we have guns in our home…so I asked her if she was allowed to ask. She said she was, but she didn’t ask unless she felt there was a need for a specific family. I was so shocked by this because I know from other conversations with her that she is a gun control advocate. Hopefully my question spurred her into adding that question into her rotation. Anyway, all this to say thank you for tackling this with your patients!

  60. Maggie says...

    I saw on Twitter “Lets rename SCHOOL as UTERUS and then maybe Republican lawmakers will want to get outraged about children dying inside them.” #voteblue

    • Nicole says...

      Unfortunately, so true.

  61. Nicole says...

    I graduated from Marjory Stoneman Douglas in 2006. My husband & I are both teachers. Each time a school shooting is in the news, I always wondered if the next one was going to occur at a school I’ve attended or worked at. Well, it finally happened. While the news about my alma mater – which is located in one of the safest towns in Florida – was shocking to hear, I sadly wasn’t surprised. I think about how different the world feels since Columbine. My heart just breaks for my students who have to grow up in this sort of climate. I’ve had students hug me and hold my hand throughout lockdown drills, even when they know it’s practice. They’ll grow up conditioned to think of schools as a potentially dangerous place. I contemplate my ability to keep myself and my students safe in my classroom if we were to hear shots fired outside. Would my husband be able to do so at his school? For this to occur even once is too many times, but it keeps. on. happening. Thank you for making this post, Joanna, and for suggesting ways to help <3

  62. Kirsten says...

    I was a sixth grader in Littleton, CO when the Columbine shooting happened. What I remember most, more than a sense of fear, was a sense of impossibility. The fact that something like that had happened–that kids could actually be shot to death in school–was so out of the realm of normality that it was hard to comprehend. For years I hated telling people where I was from because of the look of horror they would get on their faces. Now almost 20 years later, I teach on a college campus. Every year we have active shooter training. Every classroom I teach in I think about where the nearest exits are, where would I hide myself and my students if a shooting occurred. I hate how normal this has become. It would be impossible to even remember all of the names of towns where students have been killed at this point because there are so many. Any suggestions short of gun control–arming teachers (wtf), airport-like security at schools (impossible at college campuses, I would add), etc–does nothing but further normalize it.

    I have a baby daughter now and it terrifies me that she’ll go to school one day and probably also run active shooter drills like we used to have tornado drills when I was a child. My heart is broken into a million pieces for the families in Florida who are grieving today, and I’m just sick and so angry that we can’t get policy change on this issue. I mean, what is it going to take??? All I can say is organize, organize, organize.

    • M says...

      My two-year-old has active shooter training at his daycare. At daycare.
      He knows that they have to hide and be quiet if the bad guys come to his school. I agree with you Kirsten – organize, organize, organize!

    • Tricia says...

      My daughter is six and they’ve been running active shooter scenarios at her school since she was in pre-k. She talks about a “scary stranger” and how they have to hide in a closet or in a bathroom with her teacher and which stall is best to hide in. I am beyond heartbroken that this is necessary, that what happened in Florida keeps occurring again and again, and I am so furiously angry.

      Vote, vote, vote. Please. It’s our only way out of this.

  63. Melanie says...

    As someone from Broward County (where yesterdays tragedy took place) and a daily COJ reader, thank you.

  64. Nicole says...

    Thank you for sharing this, Joanna. Normally I would keep these feelings to myself, but not today.
    When I woke up this morning, my husband was hugging me with such fierce emotion, I honestly thought something was going on, freaked out and asked him what was wrong. He answered he was just happy I was home and was safe. And then it all came back to me. The shooting, right here in Florida. My only thought was, I have to teach students today, how do I face them?
    I couldn’t even try to measure how hard this day would be, but let me tell you, it’s been the most difficult one of my teaching career. The faces of my students today were heartbreaking. In every single one of my classes I had to tell my kids how sorry I am that this is our reality –that tragedy can strike anywhere, I had to reassure them of our school safety policies and procedures, remind them of how much they are loved and beg them to take drills seriously as if they were a real situation, because I couldn’t bear the thought of anything happening to them. I don’t have children of my own but I have a 136 kids. 136 souls that fill me with joy, craziness and growth every day. Those children are my babies too and I would never let anything happen to them. I’m devastated and I think this feeling will accompany me for a long time, which I plan to use as my motivation to fight for my students and their safety because they deserve more.

  65. Katie says...

    Like many others, I am infuriated and saddened. But as a psychologist, I constantly feel
    upset that these incidents are chalked up to “mental illness.” First, incidence of psychiatric disorders are roughly the same across western countries, yet the US is the only one with this problem. Second, mental health treatment only works if patients actually present for care. We do our best to catch and treat disorders early, but these perpetrators never come to our clinics because they don’t think anything is wrong with them. And lastly, calling a gun problem a mental health problem is just plain insulting to all the wondeful, kind, amazing patients who have actual disorders. It perpetuates the stigma— the opposite of encouraging people to seek help.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      YES.

    • MK says...

      Thank you.

    • Maggie says...

      +1,000,000

    • Kellyn says...

      Well said, Katie!

    • MG says...

      Yes, yes, yes.

    • Lisa says...

      YES

    • Alex says...

      This is such an important point. A non-white shooter is called a terrorist. A white shooter has a figmented mental illness. We need to call hate and violence what it is.

    • Veronika says...

      Dear Katie, I’m no expert, but I live in Europe and what I think is that US is the only one where anyone can walk in a store and buy (almost) any gun over the counter. Whenever I see a movie (last time it was Ozark, where a boy bought a gun in a sport department just like you buy a tennis rocket here) I’m just shocked how easy it is. People here will go out on the street to protest if our goverment would allow such stores to open, and everybody would be scared for their life. I understand that having a gun is a cultural thing for your country – it’s what you had since from the beginning so it’s extremly difficult to change on so many levels. But I believe these shootings will just happen until sg is done about it.

    • C says...

      Exactly -thank-you so much for this comment. As a mom of a ten year with mental health issues – I am honestly afraid to tell people about it. It is a step backward in honest open communication about what it means to have mental health differences. We are receiving help and are trying to help our son as best we can. Demonizing children with mental health issues will only end with more sorrow.

    • Jenny says...

      Thank you for this comment. Cup of Jo reader comments are just so good- And on target -so often.

      Jo, you and your team are doing this right. 💕💕

  66. Mel says...

    This may not be a popular sentiment to share, & definitely not targeted at the CoJ community, but as a New Zealander living in Australia, a lot of us in this part of the world are suffering ‘compassion fatigue’ when it comes to the USA & gun violence. We stand in disbelief that the USA can be kept in a stranglehold by the likes of the NRA, enabling a teenager access to a semi automatic weapon & to commit mass murder. Australia had its moment of horror with the Port Arthur massacre in 1996. With a resulting tightening up of gun ownership & licensing laws, there has not been a mass shooting since. It’s just so bloody obvious what needs to be done.

    • Laura says...

      What does a tightening up of gun ownership and licensing laws mean? Did it increase waiting times or restrict certain people from getting guns? I’m just trying to understand how we can change the laws here so this senseless violence doesn’t keep happening.

    • Mel says...

      The law changes require that guns must be registered; automatic and semiautomatic weapons are banned; two amnesty / buyback schemes removed more than 675,000 guns from circulation; gun owners must have a valid reason for owning a gun (farming & hunting ok); guns & ammunition must be locked and stored appropriately.

    • Brooke says...

      Laura, in Australia there are certain types of guns that people are not allowed to own at all, such as automatic weapons. In addition, everyone who owns a gun must be licensed, the gun must be stored in a properly installed gun safe, the ammunition must be stored in a second safe, only the licensed gun owner can know the combinations to get into the safe, and the police can and do conduct random checks to ensure that guns are being stored properly.
      A couple of years ago in Adelaide a man shot his neighbours and ended up in a siege with police. Obviously, the shooter was charged with many offences but his father was also charged with firearms offences and aiding and abetting offences because he had not properly secured his guns and those were the guns used in the siege.

    • Mel says...

      Oops…I forgot to note that you must apply for a license to own guns in the first place.

    • MG says...

      Agreed. I think there’s horror fatigue here too. This is becoming normal and that in itself is completely and utterly horrifying. I’m ashamed and outraged that my country allows this to keep happening when the solution is obvious.

    • Alex says...

      I think the BBC journalist who started a report with “Just another day in the United States…” is how a lot of people worldwide feel about this. I wouldn’t call it compassion fatigue, rather an acknowledgement that massacres occur so frequently that the news is horrifying but never surprising, and that real change seems impossible at this point. Australia’s gun control response to Port Arthur included: a massive tax-funded buyback of guns so that people didn’t have a financial loss, banning ownership of all automatic and semi-automatic weapons, establishment of a national registry (so that gun storage /safety could be assessed), licensing with training/testing for all gun owners, and a mandatory 28 day waiting period. A centre-right (well, for us) government was in power and I think this helped. I don’t agree with many of the policies of the Howard government now but I am forever grateful that they acted in response to tragedy and saved future lives. It was a stunning feat of the concepts of representative democracy and bipartisanship. The net effect: fewer mass shootings (none since 1996), far fewer gun suicides and homicides, fewer accidental shootings (now extremely rare). Some of these laws have been relaxed. There are still a lot of guns here but the stats have remained favourable. A gang leader was shot in Sydney yesterday. This was national news. Australia is far from perfect – a lot of my fellow citizens are angry, racist thugs. But most of them aren’t armed.
      The overall homicide rate in the US is far higher than other industrialised nations – gun availability is a huge component of this, but not the whole story. The relative lack of a social safety net and equitable health system is part of it too.
      http://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-us-canada-34991834/california-shooting-another-day-of-gunfire-panic-and-fear
      https://theconversation.com/amp/when-gun-control-makes-a-difference-4-essential-reads-85043
      https://amp.smh.com.au/comment/how-australia-beat-the-gun-lobby-and-passed-gun-control-20171003-gytvn4.html

    • Meghan says...

      As a Canadian I hear you. My husband is an American, born and raised. Our 2 children hold dual citizenship. Every time this happens (far too often) I just can’t wrap my head around it. It is sad to say… but there is a reason we choose to stay living in Canada…

    • Corinne says...

      Thank you. As another Australian I am totally gobsmacked by American gun laws. It is also very sad that these news stories don’t surprise us anymore. If you don’t change anything, nothing will change.

    • Thea says...

      Here is an article from an Australian newspaper last year on our ability to bring in gun control, but not America’s. Yes, the political situation is very different in Australia, and we don’t have a constitutional right to bear arms. However, it was a political act of will, and had bipartisan support. If both sides of the political spectrum had the courage to push forward with laws to restrict gun ownership, then it could be done. http://www.smh.com.au/comment/how-australia-beat-the-gun-lobby-and-passed-gun-control-20171003-gytvn4.html

    • Dan says...

      Laura … To answer your question from my very basic knowledge, in Australia you need to have a legitimate reason to obtain a firearm licence, with self-defence not accepted as a reason, and complete a training course. Automatic and semiautomatic weapons are banned. All firearms must be registered. The government had a ‘gun amnesty’ in the period after Port Arthur, where they bought back unregistered firearms without penalty to the people surrendering them. There are still gun crimes committed, but it is much harder to access the weapons that have enable these repeated tragic massacres in the US.

    • Jane says...

      Completely agree. I’m an American that lives in the UK and when these things happen, I honestly can’t even care anymore. And neither does anyone else here, they just think those stupid gun-loving Americans have done it to themselves again.

      But then I think of my sister, cousins, and extended family and friends that are teachers and students. (BTW the mental illness thing infuriates me for two reasons – there are mentally ill people everywhere in the world. It’s not like republicans are doing f**kall to improve healthcare!)

      I actually think it has more to do with the selfish society of the USA. In some ways, it’s fantastic, that’s why the American dream exists. But in my time living outside of the US, the prevailing thought is that the greater good is more important than me, which is not the case in the US – it relates to guns: in the US, it’s, “my gun/access to guns is more important than your child.” On healthcare, “my access to healthcare or my income is more important than your healthcare and I’m certainly not going to pay more in taxes.” We care so much more about how a law change is going to impact me than how it could improve society.

    • KylieO says...

      This is in response to Laura above. After the 1996 massacre in Port Arthur, our then prime minister John Howard ordered a “buy back scheme” – people were ordered to hand in their weapons and get money in exchange for them. A lot of people were against it & protested, but most people were so shocked at the massacre they didn’t have a problem with it. There are still guns in our country of course, but it is very difficult to get one and you have to do A LOT of paperwork, so a lot of people just don’t bother. You also cannot purchase semi-automatic weapons at all.

    • Jane says...

      @Laura, in Australia and the UK, it’s incredibly difficult to buy a gun. In Australia, after the gun massacre at Port Arthur, the government had a massive gun buyback program and have restricted the laws ever since.

      In the UK, not even the police force is fully armed. You can purchase hunting rifles but even that is very restricted. No one owns guns. Criminals purchase guns on the black market but even those are old, unreliable, expensive and difficult to access.

      Obviously crime still exists, there are murders and stabbings and terrorism, but absolutely nothing on the scale of US gun crime.

    • Veronika says...

      I agree totally with Mel. No guns, no shooting. I’m from Europe and we never had such gun problem because you just cannot buy a gun like that – and not just like in US but in Australia, or New Zealand even.
      It’s just so frustrating to see that US does nothing to change this and it’s all because of money…I’m really sorry for the citizens who actually want to change this.

    • Sian says...

      @Mel as someone living in the UK I do agree. My heart goes out to all the victims of gun violence and to those who are pro-gun control in the US. I have zero patience for those who are anti-gun control.

      @Laura in the UK we had one school shooting and changed the laws dramatically. If you want a gun you have to apply for a license from the police which includes having references and then chdcking your medical history, and having a secure place to keep these weapons. Full and semi automatic weapons are prohibited.
      I don’t have a license so my understanding is pretty basic, but I do live in the country and can say that gun sports are still very popular here.

    • Mona says...

      @ Laura – in Sweden, as an example, we don’t get to have guns if we don’t have a reason for having them. You need to be a licensed hunter or an active member of a shooting club. Also, you can be turned down if you have ties with violent organizations, for example a few years ago a woman was denied a license because her boyfriend was a known member of a white supremacy group who had expressed his desire to cause mayhem.

      All guns made before 1890 must have a license, even ones in museums. That way we can keep track of them. For example, when our prime minister was shot in 1986, every single person in Sweden with a license for the type of weapon he was shot with had to turn their weapons in for checking.

      Sadly, there has been an influx of non registered weapons after the latest European war (Balkans), which off course is being abused by organized crime. However, we have periods of amnesty where such weapons can be turned in to the police without them asking any questions about them, and last time about 15000 weapons and 40 tons of ammo was handed over to authorities. every weapon off the streets makes a difference…

    • Kate says...

      Laura, the government banned automatic and semi automatic weapons completely. Licenses and background checks were much tighter and you had to have a specific reason to have a gun, ie if you were a farmer. The government also bought back all the guns that didn’t comply and destroyed them.

      The Prime Minister at the time changed the law to prevent people owning high powered guns, and this all happened within two weeks of the port Arthur massacre. I have since read an article saying it was the best decision he has ever made as a leader.

      You cannot buy a gun in Australia except in a specific gun shop, I’m not even sure where you could find a gun shop in my large regional city. There would be one, but I’ve never seen it, and I assume there is some sort of waiting period to buy one.

      I have read recently that 650,000 guns in Australia were destroyed after the massacre. This is no where near the number of guns that Americans own currently. Also Australia didn’t have a ‘gun culture’ your average person didn’t own a gun, even before the buy back.

      I hope soon, very soon, that gun laws change for your country, and your children can be educated in safety.

    • Alice says...

      I’m in the UK and I am inclined to agree with Mel. I was the same age as the kids killed in the Dunblane school shooting (though lived at the opposite end of the country) and the fact that the UK tightened gun laws (have a look at the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 and the Firearms (Amendment) (No.2) Act 1997 for what was changed) as a result of this has meant that I’ve grown up in a world where school is not somewhere that people get shot, and guns are not something that you have to constantly worry about.
      The fact that people in the US are so insistent on a “right” to bear arms in 2018 continually baffles me. I understand the context of the 2nd Amendment- but cannot begin to comprehend why people fight so hard for this to remain when people- CHILDREN- are dying every damn day. It’s just common sense to tighten gun laws. Surely enough has been enough for a long time now?
      Every time I hear of another mass shooting in the US my heart hurts and I grieve for the people who have lost their lives and for their families. But there is such an obvious solution to this situation- and it sure as hell isn’t arming more people.

    • Coco says...

      I so agree with Mel. Nothing is going to change in the USA until the gun laws change. My husband and I don’t have guns, we don’t need or want guns and we don’t know anyone with guns and there are a lot people like us.

    • Anna says...

      Similarly, after the horrific Dunblane tragedy here in the UK. It beggars belief.

      Sending love and hope to you all across the pond, particularly those affected by gun violence.

    • J. says...

      Hi Laura – All of the high profile recent shootings were committed with an AR 15, an assault rifle. The Florida shooter purchased his legally so many of us think banning automatic and semi automatic guns like that would at the very least be worth trying!

    • Rachel says...

      For Laura – you could get more comprehensive infor online as I don’t remember all the details, but essentially automatic and semi-automatic weapons were banned in addition to tighter restrictions on obtaining guns. Owners of Prohibited guns had to return them in a federal government amnesty. All of this change was enacted when we had a very conservative government in place, and though deeply unpopular with part of their base, they did it anyway.

    • Carol says...

      I understand what you mean Mel. I feel terrible for the people affected by these tragedies, and with each mass shooting that happens and nothing changes, it becomes harder to understand.
      As an Australian I find it so strange to see things like teachers and students receiving training for active shooter situations. I cannot imagine growing up wondering if you’re going to be shot at school, or at a concert, or in a road rage incident. I try to understand things from other people’s perspectives, but it’s so hard to wrap my mind around the way some Americans feel about gun laws and rights.

    • SumSlay says...

      You’re definitely right, Mel. Even here in the US we’re not shocked by it anymore. There was that shooting in a Kentucky school recently and I was all, “Wow, only 4!” Yesterday, I think my reading went something like, “Aw, that’s awful…oh look, Jen and Justin broke up!?!”

      I get that the NRA is behind it, but it being the 2nd Amendment is on up there (as the NRA reminds everyone). Listen, in the 18th century when getting bossed around by the British, I geeeet it. But guns have changed. The constitution has changed. Women and people of color even have rights now, gasp!

      As a history nerd, it amuses me that the Boston MASSACRE, which then helped spur the American Revolution, was when English soldiers “accidentally” killed FIVE PEOPLE. FIVE. HELPED START A REVOLUTION. I learned this back in the mid-90s/before school shootings, and was like, “ONLY FIVE?! That’s not a massacre.”

      Also related, a few months ago my friend got a note from the daycare that ‘the infant class did great in lockdown training!’ Yeah, we’re sure the *newborns* did great.

    • Amy says...

      Also in Australia, a few months ago a pair of angry teenagers were planning a highschool shooting in rural SA. They had the body armour, the letter written, everything prepared- but they were caught before it went ahead because they couldn’t get access to guns. I am so thankful for our gun laws.

  67. Kay says...

    Thank you for this. Even watching the Olympics with all its higher values seems impossible today. I appreciate the thoughtful comments here because I must admit I got caught up in a few on-line “debates” about gun control today and it made me more depressed than ever.

  68. Jeannie says...

    As a teacher I can barely listen to news about school shootings. I know for lots of us, Sandy Hook was our 9/11, but it just keeps going.

    There is no dance, no assembly no event I go to in my school where I am not planning where we will go if shooting starts.

    In our drills now, we’re asked to barricade our doors and find makeshift weapons to stop an intruder.

    Mamas, know that we will try to keep your babies safe, but strong gun law legislation will keep them safer.

  69. Elizabeth says...

    I’m a high school teacher, and today was very hard. I looked at my students, and in each of their faces, I saw them as young kids, toddlers, babies; all of these children are someone’s baby. My heart aches for those who lost their babies yesterday. We have to do better. We must.

  70. Nandini says...

    So many interesting points, I agree gun control should be discussed and mental health organizations definitely should be promoted. I believe also that it is very important not to create a stigma, the potential autism or the loss of the parents must not be considered a direct connection.

    I was wondering also, are we maybe putting all the blame on the single guy? Or maybe what is in our society that makes a person react in the most horrible way? Is it because they feel being excluded or they feel they can’t find another way to sustain the pressure? Or is the violence and the aggressivity a normal state of mind?

    I’m italian and currently living in Canada, last week in Italy a fascist man shot 6 peoples because of them being black. It has been a terrible week, with lots of violent speeches and overt racism in the reaction to the facts. What are the things we can do to live in a world where this won’t happen and won’t be considered acceptable?

    Thank you all for the words, links and comments, I need to read and think..

  71. Sonja says...

    These past few years have felt like an unsettling dystopian movie. Does anyone else feel like we’ve entered “The Darkest Timeline”? Parallel universe Abed is freaking out. I don’t mean to make light of all of this because I am terrified and so unbearably sad.

  72. B says...

    These increasingly common school shootings are every parent’s worst nightmare. I have to admit that I turned off NPR this morning. Just too much to take in. These events shatter our sense of security. They also give me the slightest glimpse of what it must be like to raise your children in an environment that is truly violent and life threatening everyday. I used to tutor children from neighborhoods so dangerous that most of them, even the kindergarteners, had stories of what they did when they heard gunshots. We need sensible gun control for the sakes of all of these children — children in Littleton, Newtown, and Parkland, and children in Anacostia and Chicago’s South Side. I truly cannot wrap my head around what it will take. I don’t understand it at all.

  73. Rachael says...

    Thank you for this! I called all my representatives and donated as well. I have a 16 month old son and it’s devastating to think that in a few years when he goes to school that things will be the same. We need change.

  74. Becca says...

    A couple of years ago I had the unique opportunity to watch the documentary Newtown at BAM followed by a panel discussion with the families of the victims. It was one the most emotionally intense experiences of my life and I cried through the movie and stayed up late at night reflecting on it for days afterwards but I highly recommend watching it if you can. Change needs to happen and it’s up to us to make that change.

  75. Milla says...

    I’m in high school and I go to a school with almost the exact same number of students as the Florida school. It’s tragic that ever since 7th grade when Sandy Hook happened, I’ve thought in each classroom I’ve had: where would I go and what would I do if a shooter entered? The kids that died in Sandy Hook were my brother’s age. The kids that died yesterday were my age. We’re lucky to be alive and it shouldn’t be this way. I am so, SO beyond angry that this keeps happening and nothing changes. This is the 18th school shooting of the year and it’s only FEBRUARY. How many children need to die in their supposedly safe spaces before something changes?

    • june2 says...

      Write your congressperson, and the white house, exactly what you’ve written here.

  76. Melody says...

    Thankful as always for the comment section here. Such a reassuring space and a respite from the news and twitter. Thank you Joanna.

  77. Kate says...

    Call your representatives. Every day. Ask them how much money they got from the NRA and don’t get off the phone until they answer. They might not. Persist. Call again tomorrow and the next day and the next. And then register to vote if you haven’t. Ask the candidates what they are going to do to stop gun violence. If you don’t like the answer, ask again. Write out what you want to say and don’t worry if you go off script or if you are reading verbatim. Just keep making your voice heard.

    • Maria says...

      YES to all of this. I feel so frustrated when I hear people talking about the sadness of the shooting when I know they don’t vote AT ALL. Yes it’s horrific, but people in the US need to start turning off the news and start taking accountability for their own lives and the choices they make (or don’t make) at the ballot box. Know your senators and representatives. Know how they vote. And take a stand against a president who proudly accepts millions from the NRA.

    • Courtney says...

      YES YES YES. https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials is a good resource. Also, I love following my local INDIVISIBLE chapter on facebook because they give easy actions I can take to make the most impact. If every mama and teacher who doesn’t want to see another child murdered speaks up, they will hear us!

  78. Jessica says...

    When my pre-k daughter suddenly started talking about ‘hunters’ and ‘bad guys’ and having to hide, I didn’t know where it was coming from. Then I learned that her school had an ‘active shooter drill’ and my heart broke. In my childhood we had tornado and fire drills and those were scary enough. I hate that she has to grow up this way. I am donating my tax-cut dollars to the organizations CoJ suggested. (thanks for the good idea in the above comments)

    • Maria says...

      My daughter has had the same lock down drill in preschool. It makes my heart hurt. But tell your school officials that they should be telling the students something innocent. My daughter’s school told the kids it was just in case a squirrel gets into the school. Preschool aged kids shouldn’t have to worry mentally speaking about being hunted down. And shouldn’t be desensitized to such a horrific possibility.

    • Laura says...

      I remember the first time my kids had an active shooter drill and they were like mom not everyone will be able to hide behind the desk someone will be seen. Broke my heart that they were thinking one of them would get shot.

    • Abesha1 says...

      Schools should be running drills, but code names are appropriate for younger kids, certainly. Code black (earthquake/ power outage), code blue (hurricane), code silver (active shooter/ bomb threat) etc.

    • Colleen says...

      Growing up in California, we had fire drills and earthquake drills. In the fourth grade, the classroom next to ours got super excited and started stomping their feet. My class panicked and dove under our desks, screaming. It was scary, but nothing compared to what those kids experienced. The closest I came was in 2001, when there was a lockdown when I was in childcare class my junior year of high school. We had two or three kids per person, blockaded by snack tables, sitting in the dark. Trying to keep scared toddlers quiet is heartbreaking.

    • Amy says...

      In my school in Australia we say it’s in case a dog is loose in the school. Our lockdowns are less
      frequent and are realistically more about an angry parent than a shooter, but in any case little ones needn’t have that burden of fear.

  79. Kelsi says...

    I am a teacher who has been tangentially touched by gun violence too many times… a 4 hour lockdown during my student teaching days as a a gunman on the loose circled our campus… a friend’s husband losing 4 of his former students in a Marysville, WA high school murder-suicide shooting at school… my family members who had just moved to Newtown prior to the Sandy Hook shooting.

    This madness has to stop.

    Here’s my husband’s aunt’s lovely, heartbreaking essay about Sandy Hook that was published by The Georgia Review: https://thegeorgiareview.com/winter-2014/the-one-i-get-and-other-artifacts/

    • Sarah says...

      I am so sorry for all the tragedy and madness that you and those you love have experienced, Kelsi. That’s a lot to carry. Sending a hug out to you. xx

  80. Christina says...

    My daughters are 3 years and 5 months. I know sending a child to their first day of school is often emotional for a parent, but I never expected that I would feel fear over it. But it’s there. A deep pit of fear and anxiety that opens whenever I imagine sending my 3 year old to school in a couple years. It’s not just the fear of something happening at her school that gets me, it’s the robbing of her innocence to have to participate in active shooter drills or to discuss what to do just in case. Is that something I should even do with such a young child when the time comes? I never thought that would be a parenting question I would have – at what age do I begin to prepare my child for the possibility of her school turning into a war zone? When do I introduce that possibility and concept into her precious, innocent world? How can I help her maintain her brave joyfulness as she navigates the world, when I am so fearful and want to keep her close?

    My heart is shattered for the parents of those children who will not come home and for the children who came home but will never be the same. And I am angry. Angry that this is reality and not enough is being done. Angry because these deaths could have been prevented, and there will likely be more. Angry at the predictable cycle every time this happens. I call my representatives, sign petitions, donate money, hug my kids hard, and hope our representatives finally grow a spine and a conscience or get voted out. I don’t know what else to do.

  81. Lady T says...

    Tuning in from Australia. This is beyond sad. Not only is it terrifying for the specific kids involved but for all of your children. You get 18 years of carefree life, and that’s if you make it through the trauma/bullying/health/family gauntlet. This would be causing so much terror to just go to school, to be in groups, to go to the library. Everyone is affected and it must be so exhausting.

    If we are speaking fiscally, I can say that I feel terrified being in America. I think you’re lovely people and I’ve travelled there more than anywhere else but I was constantly worried that someone would pull a gun on me. I won’t be returning until Trump is gone. This cannot be good for tourism and surely, for government, if all it comes down to is dollars then there are other losses to count?

    • Lady T says...

      Sorry. I see the Trump bit sounds irrelevant but from the other side of the world I mean to say the collection of issues facing the States at the moment is too much for me to face. A choice those poor students and their parents don’t get to make.

    • Claudia says...

      Tuning in from the Netherlands, I see what you mean. I’ve been visiting the States every year for over two decades now. I love the US, but the last time I was there, (last November), I felt a shift. I felt more unsafe than ever. I walked 5th Avenue in New York and Trump Tower was a fortress guarded by people with machine guns. First time I ever saw one. It’s also frustrating to see all these people fighting with each other when we (EU and Australia) know that strict gun laws actually do work. The inability for some people to part with automatic weapons and finding that right more important than children dying, makes me terrified to go to the US again. I too have thought, I’ll go back when Trump is gone, because it feels different walking the streets of my beloved NY as a visitor looking on from the outside. I hope this issue can be solved somehow. I know it’s possible. It’s also crazy to hear that, I believe and correct me if I’m wrong, 46% of people didn’t even vote in 2016. I believe voting people out who are paid by the NRA (and how is that legal anyway?) and start locally is a good start. I wish I could do something from thousand of miles away. I hate feeling powerless. Compassion-fatique is what the EU feels too. Sorry for the long rant. But the killing of children should enrage the whole world.

  82. Addressing the “why” of so many people killing each other – especially sad, angry children with God only knows what kind of mental illnesses and habits and lack of parental or guardian supervision – is a far greater problem then more calls for gun control. Sure, make better gun laws. But you can’t legislate away evil. And something very, very evil is happening to our culture right now. I also refuse to read and watch the endless media coverage about this – it is absolutely sickening the way the media both perpetuates and profits from the entertainment genre of “breaking news.” Read one story, done. You’ve got your information. Now call your lawmakers, donate some blood, say some prayers for the victims and hug your babies tight. Don’t perpetuate the insanity of immortalizing these monsters. Tomorrow’s mass killer is watching today’s endless, breathless, speculative and exploitative coverage.

    • Maria says...

      This is so sad and so true. Watching endless coverage does nothing to help the victims, nor prevent any more shootings.

    • Claudia says...

      Agreed. It’s both. Mental health and guns. And I also believe the media is playing a role in this. The shooters do not deserve media time, as this is often what they seek and feel their egos pumped by it. People like Coach Feis, who saved lives are the heroes and deserving of media time. I knew the shooters name before I knew the names of Coach Feis, the teachers, the victims. The media can do a great deal by taking a way the oxygen that fuels these killers. No glory, no fame for them.

  83. Sammi says...

    Another plug for Moms Demand Action! They do great work my community and welcome all, not just moms, who want common-sense gun reforms.
    https://momsdemandaction.org/

    • J. says...

      I am not yet a mom but am going to my local group’s monthly meeting this weekend!

  84. Lisa Marie says...

    Jeri,
    I thought your comment was very eloquent—“I am so confused about the fundamental nature of a country that prioritizes the protection of guns over the protection of children.”

    I hope you don’t mind that I used your quote in comments that I just sent to one of our senators in Texas. About to send a few more comments too.

    This is an activity I never really took up until this past year. Probably doesn’t help too much, but can’t hurt either.

  85. Jo says...

    British reader here – I’m so saddened to hear the news of this shooting, and was horrified to read it’s something like the 18th so far this year?! In the UK there have been 3 mass shootings in my lifetime – I’m 34. The most recent major one was in 1996 in Dunblane primary school when 26 five year olds and their teacher were killed. Guns were immediately banned and I remember people all over the country handing them in to police stations – there hasn’t been anything to that scale since. It is possible to hold a firearms license but they are strictly regulated and hard to get.
    I work as a doctor here, there are plenty of mental health challenges, but none of them result in mass shootings. I just cannot get my head around the arguments for MORE guns to prevent this happening more.
    Hurt people hurt people – but if they don’t have easy access to guns, everyone is safer.
    Thinking of your poor country today, and hoping those in power can see sense soon.

    • Claudia says...

      Dutch reader here – I agree with you 100%

  86. Kerry says...

    I used to drop my sons off at school and breathe a sigh of relief that they were in good hands and safe. Now I worry about them all day long.

    Feeling so blue, but I am proud that my state, Oregon, passed tougher gun control laws today, on the heels of FL’s tragedy.

    • Ann says...

      Oregon voting on gun laws today was coincidental timing, and it only changed a small bit of the law, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction. We just need so much more, sadly.

    • Jessica says...

      It passed the House. Needs to pass senate. Good start though!!

  87. Rachael says...

    Why, oh, why does ANYONE think assault rifles should be legal for civilians to own? Regardless of political stance or whether mental health plays a role in mass shootings, assault rifles CLEARLY make it way too easy to kill way too many people in a short span of time. Our politicians are failing us in many ways but why can’t they at least outlaw these types of guns!? WHY!? I am outraged and incredulous.

    • Couldn’t agree more with you!

    • Amber says...

      The AR in “AR-15” rifle stands for ArmaLite rifle, after the company that developed it in the 1950s. “AR” does NOT stand for “assault rifle” or “automatic rifle.” An assault rifle is fully automatic — a machine gun. Automatic firearms have been severely restricted from civilian ownership since 1934.

    • Megan says...

      Amber: The point still stands. Why does a civilian need a semiautomatic rifle? Additionally, the Las Vegas shooter used perfectly legal bump stocks to modify his semiautomatic weapons to fire faster–more like automatic weapons. But is the NRA in favor of banning bump stocks? Nope.

    • Sarah says...

      Amber, whatever the “AR” stands for, it should be banned. I can’t think of a reason why a civilian would need to own this weapon.

    • J. says...

      Amber – it doesn’t matter what the AR stands for, of course it is a gun that is meant to kill people and of course it should be banned. It was first used in combat in the Vietnam war. It should not be legal to buy it from a gun store.

  88. Sarah W says...

    I don’t know how to deal with this at all. I’m seeing comments all over Instagram urging arming teachers, or saying welp, killers gonna kill. I don’t understand how these are parents making these comments, but they are. I am at such a huge loss to understand how a change can come about with this kind of thinking that appears so prevalent across the country.

    • Emily says...

      I totally agree, Sarah.

    • SumSlay says...

      Same. My hometown has armed teachers and everyone is THRILLED about that.

  89. Peg says...

    Thanks Joanna.

  90. Anne says...

    I also feel at a loss to protect my children. One reason (of many) that we chose private school for our 6 and 9 year olds is that our perception, looking at the data, is that mass shootings are less likely to happen at private schools than public ones. (I recognize that having this choice is a huge privilege.) I can’t abide the idea of sending my children into an environment that could turn into a war zone, but that’s what American parents do every day.

    • sasha says...

      We homeschooled for many years, and fear of a shooting was one of many reasons. Yes, a huge privilege. When my kids were in high school I got a job there, partly to be closer to them, just in case. I never felt safe.
      There was a school shooting at my school when I was 13. I never felt safe at school again. They never repaired the bullet holes in the walls. They wanted us all to remember. I remembered every time I saw one.
      I fear what happens to millions of children, growing up feeling afraid every day. Personally, I feel numb. A lot. And afraid when the numb wears off.

  91. Morgan Cox says...

    Thank you. It’s important that we not return to business as normal after each massacre. We must refuse to become numb, to ignore, to accept this as impossible to solve.

  92. Haylie says...

    Thanks for this, team. We cannot ever, EVER, act like these events–or the insanely easy access to military-grade weapons that exists in our society–are normal.

  93. Yaindy Lara says...

    I’m so heart broken, I can’t handle watching news anymore. As a mother of 3 I can’t even begin to imagine the pain and suffering. I just can’t l, and honestly I don’t want to. I wish our president and people in charge of gun control would do something, now ! I feel like this is just a game for them. Is crazy. Where do we go from here ?!!!

  94. Claire says...

    New to me with this incident – some of the kids who were on site are tweeting out messages about it.

    • Betsy says...

      And largely, they seem to be very anti-gun and anti-NRA. I hope they all go vote the way they tweet.

  95. Amber says...

    Beautiful. Thank you.

  96. Laurie says...

    Last night I once again recited my “what to do in a school shooting talk” to my high school aged son and middle school aged daughter with our hearts all quietly breaking. This morning I summoned enough courage to send them back to schools that I hope never serve as the backdrop for a mass murder but there for the grace of god… Then I made a decision that seems both insane and prudent, I bought clotting bandages on Amazon for both of their backpacks. This is a snapshot of America today: parents buying battlefield trauma gear for their children’s backpacks because their children may face weapons of war in their schools.

    • Deanne says...

      Oh goodness! I applaud your practicality with tears streaming down my face. How did we get here? Why isn’t a priority for this nation to get us out???

    • Kim says...

      crying too as I read this, as I’ve googled “bulletproof vests for kids” thinking this is honestly how I need to send my 3 and 6 year old out into this world. my heart breaks for these families, and although crying, I am SO ENRAGED.

  97. Nicole says...

    It is truly infuriating and appalling that shooting after shooting, all we can do is give money and donate blood and join organizations – rather than actually affect policy by removing those politicians who refuse to change gun laws. Only in America, where politicians are beholden to the NRA that funds them, and where gerrymandering keeps these politicians in office, does this kind of insanity trump common sense. Seriously, what will it take?!

    • Yaindy Lara says...

      I feel the same exact way :(

  98. lauren says...

    Hey Jo, as a new mom to a son that picture at the top is so sweet and so heartbreaking. I wanted to let you know that because of this post, I’ve joined my local chapter of Moms Demand Action. I’m now signed up to greet our state legislators next week. In the midst of this all, I’ve started to “check out” for my own sanity. But knowing I’ll be doing something feels better than nothing. Thanks for sharing a thoughtful and necessary post today.

    • Frin says...

      Moms are powerful. I remember being in middle school or high school and a teacher telling us one of the main reasons the legal drinking age is 21, and why drunk driving is treated so seriously and criminalized as it is, was because of the intense pressure and work of moms. I salute you moms and will work with you to bring about change.

    • Sonja says...

      I joined mine a few weeks ago after listening to Majority 54 Podcast with Jason Kander – highly recommend. He had an episode with founder of Moms Demand Action Shannon Watts and it was so moving. The Moms Demand Action website has been an awesome resource for fact-gathering in order to battle NRA supporters. Can we get a week of outfits with Shannon Watts?

      PS – Last year I got a Christmas card from my in-laws with puppies in scarves and mittens all lined up in the snow. Flipped it over to find NRA logo – they provide Christmas cards when you donate. With puppies! I still think about this and it still bothers me.

  99. Nichole says...

    I’m so fucking tired and angry about this.
    People get murdered by guns.
    Children get murdered by guns.
    Thoughts a prayers.
    Washington focuses on mental illness.
    They say gun restrictions wouldn’t have prevented this tragedy. Bullshit, numbers don’t lie.
    Congressmen and congresswomen continue taking money from the NRA and use gun control as a wedge issue to help win elections.
    Nothing happens.
    REPEAT.
    REPEAT.
    REPEAT.
    REPEAT.
    REPEAT until when?
    This country prioritizes lax gun access over children’s lives. I don’t know what to say to that. I’m at a loss and feel so powerless.

    • Laura says...

      And it’s not like they’re really “focusing” on mental illness. Mentioning mental illness isn’t really helping anything.

    • Yaindy Lara says...

      “Mental illness “ is just an excuse, they are just tying to put that in our heads while the make money selling guns !

    • Amanda says...

      Mental illness is also prevalent in nations like ours, but homicide and mass shootings are not epidemic there like they are here. The difference between those countries and ours is that Americans have unfettered access to guns and legislators who dismiss gun control reform with inaction and who are complicit in these murders by taking blood money from the gun lobby. It’s disgusting. Imagine if advocates of gun ownership were as enraged by gun violence as they are by real common sense gun control.

    • Jeanne says...

      Nichole: Thank you for your impassioned comment. I couldn’t agree more. We are the only country in the world with this severe problem. THE ONLY COUNTRY. I don’t understand why politicians and people continue to normalize this dysfunction.

    • J. says...

      Yes! If someone has come up with some kind of mental illness treatment that could quickly eradicate our mass shooting problem, by all means let us in on the secret. Until then stop saying “we really need to focus on mental illness” after something like this happens. Every country has people who suffer from mental health issues and as far as I know, zero countries have come up with some perfect formula for a mental healthcare system that would do away with mass shootings. There’s one big difference between the US and all the countries where this doesn’t happen, and it ain’t our mental healthcare system.

    • sasha says...

      Passionately agree Nichole.

      Re mental health in the US.
      How’s everyone’s mental health state? Feeling ok about the fact that your CHILDREN may be murdered today? Sleep ok? Anxious much? Do you feel hopeless? Do you wonder if living in America might actually be BAD for your mental health? Yeah, I think maybe we’ve got a mental health crisis on our hands.

  100. Erin says...

    Thank you for this. It’s been hard to hear people talk about anything else today. I am sick with grief and fury that my country is so complacent on this issue. I do not accept that mass shootings are inevitable. I also cannot understand how this is a left-right issue – this is a human issue. We bleed the same blood, we grieve with the same horror. ENOUGH.

  101. Frin says...

    I had a midterm today and couldn’t even focus. I was in high school when the Sandy Hook massacre happened, and since then I have avoided frequenting school libraries—even now in college. And i know several other people who do this too. But it’s not normal nor should it be. I’ve been thinking of what Ulysses S Grant called “moral courage” and it saddens me to once again see just how devoid of it the people in charge of this country are, on both sides. We really need to vote and make it clear to those that come to power must be vested with common sense and moral courage.

  102. Lea says...

    <3

  103. Rita says...

    Thank you for the information, I just donated to Everytown as well. I know it doesn’t bring lives back, this makes me sick! Feeling so hopeless, wanting to help, not sure where to start, but hopefully this small act leads to many more adding up and helps fix this corrupt system.

  104. Lindsay says...

    I was born and raised on long island and I still live here. I had a lovely, peaceful childhood. I worry over things my parents never worried over. I find myself often reading about other countries having very low gun violence, and completely different thoughts on guns altogether. This issue is what makes me want to put the wheels in motion to move my family to a country where this is not the norm in the news each month.

    There is no perfectly safe place to go, but living in the US frightens me in a way I never imagined.

    It’s sad to say, but our leadership is failing on many issues. This is not what I want my children to be exposed to :( Heart-broken for all involved and for anyone feeling as sad as I do.

    Thank you, Joanna, for creating a space where we can all express our feelings and exchange ideas.

    • Yes. Sometimes I want to move back to the U.S., but then things like this make me stop and realize how good I have it: fantastic socialized medicine, great schools, tough regulations keeping food/water/products clean and safe…AND very strict gun laws. I wake up most weekend mornings to gunshots, by hunters. It isn’t as if there are no guns. But they are hard to get and strictly controlled.

    • Jen says...

      Yes, me too. I get homesick, but I’ve been abroad most of my adult life now. So much has changed I can only assume it’s homesickness for the US of my childhood at this point – which almost certainly no longer exists. We’ve been tossing up moving back, but just came across an affordable house in Tasmania and my spouse thinks he can get a job transfer and with my kid starting school in a year and a half… I just can’t do it. And I read somewhere this is the 18th school shooting this year! Statistic odds of any one person becoming a victim may be low, but I don’t think I can send my kid off to grow up in that kind of anxiety if I don’t have to. Or me or my spouse! If only I could find a way to get the rest of my family over…

    • Sadie says...

      Same. We have been abroad for a year now, and I can’t believe the level of dread– what if we have a health problem? What if that guy has a gun? — that I no longer carry. The idea of moving back is very fraught with mixed feelings.

  105. Megan says...

    I can’t imagine sending my kids to school everyday and fearing this much for their safety. As a teacher I also can’t imagine the added stress everyday of worrying about my students, coworkers and my own safety. It is such a real, legitimate worry down there for you all. It is so unfair you have to deal with that everyday. I read in an article that this is the 18th school shooting in the u.s in 2018. 18th?!?
    And your president can blame mental health all he wants but mental health isn’t just an American thing but as far as I know these mass school shootings are- seems pretty clear what needs to change.

    Meg

    • sasha says...

      Don’t forget that public schools aren’t the only places children congregate. After we going to turn play grounds into fortresses? Armed guards at preschools and day cares? How about libraries and hospitals? Malls? Theaters?

      But the NRA puppets have to keep changing the subject from what is so unbelievably obvious to anyone not brain washed out bought off. And they won’t find funding anyways. Because it will individual school districts who have to pay for all of these new guards, that’s you and me. We get to fund it.

  106. Christie says...

    I heard a story on NPR this morning–an interview with a Senator from South Dakota, who has an A+ rating from the NRA. His solution? Make schools as secure as airports. Seriously? The solution is to make schools as secure as airports????
    He kept telling Steve Inskeep not to focus on certain kinds of guns–that the solution was securing schools.
    I don’t want my kid to go through security to go to school. No other developed country has this problem.
    The Second Amendment does not offer unlimited rights to gun ownership. Just like the First Amendment does not have unlimited rights to speech, assembly, or religion. There are limits in all of the other amendments and there should be limits to the second as well. My right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness should outweigh anyone else’s right to have a semi-automatic weapon.

    • Emily says...

      So well said. Thank you.

    • lauren says...

      I started listening to this same story and then had to change the channel because his idea was SO….dumb and I think even he knew he sounded stupid saying it. We could turn our schools into scary fortresses or we could regulate incredibly deadly weapons. It just gets to be too much to hear.

    • Laetitia says...

      I agree with you that transforming our schools in bunkers is not the solution. That said, as long as there is no Gun Control, I actually DO want super secure schools. In my kids’ school, there is absolutely zero security, the school is in a middle of a Public park, so there is no gate, wall or anything, anyone can come in and out around and inside the school at any time. It would be absolutely ok in another country, but here, with the current gun laws, it’s is actually putting the kids at risk

    • Lindsay says...

      Wow. I don’t have any more words. Wow.

    • lacey says...

      I heard this story today as well. I sat in the parking lot at work and was incredulous when he kept saying “it isn’t about the type of gun.” I was trying to patiently hear his side of the story but all signs pointed to him being a puppet for the NRA so I turned it off. Ridiculous. I am trying so hard to have open, thoughtful conversations about this topic- in my own family I am the lone gun-control advocate – I think that there will be ZERO progress if politicians are merely puppets for whoever donates to their campaigns. Regardless of the side you are on. This is so sad.

    • Colleen Hodge says...

      I think that is called a prison not an airport. Just what we want our schools to be about because politicians are beholding to the NRA and their domestic terrorism agenda.

    • Stephanie says...

      Yes! I was listening to this too and was so frustrated. Of course banning certain types of weapons isn’t going to make everything perfect, but slowing down the rate of fire would be a logical thing to try in the meantime. It’s not like we have a quick fix at the ready for mental health, or any other practical alternatives…

  107. Lisa says...

    This whole gun thing is something I really don’t understand. I’m not American but have American family (who are pro gun) and despite having them try to explain it to me, it’s still mystifying. There’s all this press and concern about terrorism, but more people are killed in the US by toddlers with guns than by terrorists. But then – this is an age where facts and reason don’t hold any sway any more

    • Meg says...

      Well said. I’m an American, but I feel the same as you – I don’t understand.

    • Sarah says...

      I agree Lisa. I just can’t wrap my head around the pro-gun arguments – and I’ve really tried. I’m not American either but my brother lived in Texas for many years and we often talked about it. It’s one of the reasons he ended up moving home. I really hope the US can sort this out.

    • Lisa says...

      They’ve already started the pro gun arguments on FB. They’re nice people just deluded. One was a pie chart with “causes of mass shootings”, a whole bunch of different types of weapons and the only colour being represented in the pie chart was “mass shooters”. Really?! To quote the comedian Eddie Izzard “ ‘Guns don’t kill people, people kill people’ but I think the gun helps, you know? Just standing there going ‘bang!’ isn’t going to kill too many people is it?”
      I would say I hope that this is the turning point and something happens, but I’m too cynical to believe that it will

  108. Lindsay says...

    Beyond gun ownership, I feel for people suffering without adequate mental health resources. The shooter lost both parents, most recently his mother in November. He is reported to have had autism and other potential problems. The FBI and local agencies had been warned of his behavior….How did so many indicators go ignored?

    Not that gun policy is not an issue, but there seem to be some common threads, particularly between school attacks. I’m curious what early intervention could be explored.

    • Anne says...

      Lindsay, access to mental health resources is definitely an issue that needs to be addressed, but all the healthcare in the world won’t solve this problem.
      Should every autistic teenager be investigated by the FBI? Every recently orphaned teenager? Every teenager who feels frustrated and angry? (that would be all of them)

      Mental health issues have roughly the same prevalence around the world – a percentage point or two difference between this country and that. Gun violence in America is an order of magnitude greater than in any other developed country. Mental healthcare is important, but not a solution.

      When drunk driving fatalities increased, we raised the drinking age. It’s time to legislate guns the way we legislate cars – requiring proper training, safety features, and regular demonstrations of competence before you can own and operate one.

    • MK says...

      Another common thread among mass shooters is domestic violence. I wish that was talked about more.
      (I kind of cringe when people make the autism connection- is that based in fact?)
      Fully support legislation that I know won’t happen until we replace our current lawmakers with ones willing to do something.

    • Lindsay says...

      Hey Annie,

      I hear you and you raise some great points

      “Should every autistic teenager be investigated by the FBI? Every recently orphaned teenager? Every teenager who feels frustrated and angry? (that would be all of them)”

      Definitely no. But a person who has been reported to have tormented animals, been expelled form 3 schools, reported to the FBI, banned from campus, and recently experienced trauma? Yes, that’s a good indicator of a high risk individual .

      “It’s time to legislate guns the way we legislate cars – requiring proper training, safety features, and regular demonstrations of competence before you can own and operate one.”

      I love this idea! I think it’s a great addition to the current legal requirements. Even this however, doesn’t quite solve the problem. There are hundreds of cases every year of people driving without a license, impaired, under-age, or stealing cars. Or – as we witnessed last year – people who are educated and licensed choosing to drive cars into crowds of people.

      Did anyone else see the news of the grandmother who reported her grandson to the police for planning to attack his school with homemade bombs? Think of the people she saved. She’s a hero. This is a many-faceted, nuanced issue. I love that people are using their head and their voice to explore this matter. My hope is that we would continue to keep our eyes on people, as well as legislature.

  109. Meg says...

    thank you for taking a stand. i’m also donating my tax cut dollars. i’m going to give all of it to candidates who support sane gun control legislation. the blue wave is coming!

  110. Jessica says...

    An easy way to contact law makers is to text RESIST to 50409. Sheer volume of resistant to gun violence just has to do something right?

  111. Emily says...

    I HATE that gun policy in this country seems to come down to money, but I keep donating to Everytown in hopes that we can buy the people in power back from the NRA (or, better, elect people with the interests of the people at heart). This is so tragic and such a huge shame for our country.

  112. Nadine Hughey says...

    The reactions from the students at the school speak loudly to me.

  113. Sarah says...

    I just don’t know what to do now. I have written to my legislators and they have the same beliefs as me. We are stuck in a bubble of guns vs not guns. Signing another petition isn’t going to help. I feel so lost. and I fear for my kids safety.

  114. Anna says...

    One other action: make sure you’re registered to vote!
    If you live in the United States, learn how to get registered here: https://www.usa.gov/register-to-vote
    If you live outside the United States, you can still vote, check out how to ensure you’re registered and how to get your absentee ballot here:
    https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/while-abroad/voting.html

    Demand better from the people who represent you. Support candidates who support gun control and reforms to our gun laws. Refuse to support candidates who accept money from the NRA. Make sure that when the time comes, make time to go out and vote. Voting is power, take advantage of it. We can make change.

    • Steph says...

      1 in 5 households do not own guns. If those 80% of Americans spoke up, we would solve this. I agree with Anna, voting is our way of speaking up. Make gun control the #1 issue when you cast your ballot. In the meantime, find your legislators and put them on notice: Do something or start looking for a new job.

  115. Maggie says...

    I feel compelled to mention that America is no longer functioning. Our democracy is broken, the people have no say, our “leaders” are controlled by big corporations and the NRA, the planet is under constant threat of these people, our food and water supplies are poisoned – at what point do we need to revolt? At what point is a civil war just going to break out again? This is not the American dream. This is not progress. This is not my America.

    VIVE LA REVOLUCION!

    • Meg says...

      i need a “Like” button for this!! 100% agree.

    • Renee says...

      Yes Maggie! And the revolution will be televised…

    • Margaret says...

      Maggie, I agree with you on these issues. But I wonder – is democracy actually working perfectly right now? The leaders who support gun rights were elected by voters who also support gun rights. The leaders who do nothing to control the threats to our planet, were elected by voters who don’t believe in global warming. I don’t like how things are going right now either (and that’s putting it lightly), but maybe instead of faulting the system and pondering overthrowing it, we should talk about making the voters in this country more educated, more compassionate, more informed, etc?

    • Emily says...

      Yep, exactly.

    • jules says...

      THIS. I no longer believe in what this country has become. Greed, materialism and despair rotted it from within and Trump and Pence are the perfect poster boys for it. I’m signing up for Krav Maga and planning on how I can get myself and my kid out of here within 10 years.

    • nora says...

      To Margaret: While there are many people who are pro-gun, and even some who agree with the extreme stance of the NRA, the majority of the country, even gun owners, agree with common sense measures – but the NRA throws its weight and donations behind its friends and even more effectively, against its enemies. It’s a sign that democracy is not working but that the will of the voters have been usurped by money and special interests.

      I despair.

  116. Lisa says...

    For the parents among your readers, please join your local chapters of Moms Demand Action. (And for what it’s worth, I imagine they’d happily accept non parents as well.)

    https://momsdemandaction.org/

    • Laura says...

      I’m not a parent, but I joined this morning anyway.

    • Yes! Moms Demand Action is linked with Everytown for Gun Safety. They are doing the hard work needed to help pass stricter gun laws in different states. Their instagram is an excellent source of information and encourages parents to ask about guns in houses before sending your child to a playdate or sleepover.

      Also, most states allow the open carry of guns in public places, but restaurants and other facilities have the right to prohibit guns and will post signs at their front doors. These are the places you should support while boycotting those that allow open carry. There are also corporations that donate to the NRA and those can be boycotted.

      I have to believe that gun laws can be changed for the better, but I also think it’s going to take a huge cultural shift in the way many people think. I live in Texas, and so many people view gun ownership as part of their identities. I don’t understand it, and my husband and I talk a lot about leaving our home state.

  117. Lisa says...

    As a Canadian, I feel dumbfounded by American gun violence. I literally wouldn’t know where to begin if I wanted to obtain a gun. I don’t know anyone that owns one… Except maybe for hunting. But equally heartbreaking to yet another tradgedy is watching your leader blame it on mental illness. I quote from vox.com:

    “Opponents of gun control tend to point to other factors to explain America’s unusual levels of gun violence — particularly mental illness. But as Jonathan Metzl, a mental health expert at Vanderbilt University, told me, people with mental illnesses are more likely to be victims, not perpetrators, of violence. And while it’s true that an extraordinary amount of mass shooters (up to 60 percent) have some kind of psychiatric or psychological symptoms, Metzl pointed out that other factors are much better predictors of gun violence in general: alcohol and drug misuse, poverty, a history of violence, and, yes, access to guns.”

    Trump is directly supported by the NRA. So I hate to say it but until your president and Congress are done their days in office and pending the majority of the newer voting generations are more peaceful, educated and enlightened… there may be hope.

    • AJ says...

      I’m Canadian as well, but don’t feel quite as secure. Remember, when America sneezes, Canada gets a cold. This is our problem, too.

    • Jeri says...

      Another Canadian reader here. I am so confused about the fundamental nature of a country that prioritizes the protection of guns over the protection of children.

      When I was going to bed last night I snuck into my 2yo’s bedroom, picked her up out of her crib as she slept and held her. My heart is so broken for the families and friends of everyone who’s been hurt by gun violence.

      Canada certainly isn’t perfect, but there’s such a big part of me that just can’t with that part of America anymore. I just don’t get it.

    • Christine says...

      Another Canadian here. I have a family member who likes to shoot as a hobby and the hoops he needed to go through to have access to a gun all make perfect sense to me. He needed to take a course, he needs to have his guns locked, he cannot drive around with a gun in his car (he needs to go directly to the range and back, no stops whatsoever), if he wants to get a gun his partner needs to sign off that it’s okay with them etc etc. We also have the right to gun ownership in this country, but it’s been done in a way that makes me feel much safer.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i read this atlantic excerpt on kottke’s site:
      https://kottke.org/18/02/the-united-states-of-guns-3

      “To get a gun in Japan, first, you have to attend an all-day class and pass a written test, which are held only once per month. You also must take and pass a shooting range class. Then, head over to a hospital for a mental test and drug test (Japan is unusual in that potential gun owners must affirmatively prove their mental fitness), which you’ll file with the police. Finally, pass a rigorous background check for any criminal record or association with criminal or extremist groups, and you will be the proud new owner of your shotgun or air rifle. Just don’t forget to provide police with documentation on the specific location of the gun in your home, as well as the ammo, both of which must be locked and stored separately. And remember to have the police inspect the gun once per year and to re-take the class and exam every three years.”

    • KarenJ says...

      You are exactly right AJ! As a Canadian I do worry that the pro gun culture will creep somehow across the border over time just through sheer proximity and the constant media coverage of these shootings. These days I often feel as if I’m watching the slow, heartbreaking but inevitable demise of a dear friend.

  118. J. says...

    I write for a news website and have been a news producer before and covering shootings has become so…routine. I was in high school when Columbine happened and to me it felt like the whole country came to a standstill for like 2 weeks. It’s like the whole country follows a script now. Everyone knows what aerial shots on CNN of a school with terrified students streaming out of it means. Politicians say the same thing over and over, everyone repeats the same statistics. But I’m actually thankful that no matter how many happen, I don’t personally feel “numb” to it – I definitely get freaked out every time a mass shooting happens and would leave journalism if I ever started feeling numb to it.

    Even though everyone says the same things every time it happens, I do think it’s important to keep saying them, so thank you for posting this. The best hope that people who want to maintain the status quo have, is the possibility that people will just get fatigued and feel hopeless and stop fighting for an assault weapon ban, universal background checks etc. (things that most people support).

    I’m also heartened to see that some of the survivors of this shooting have immediately raised their voices and said that “thoughts and prayers” are simply not enough anymore and haven’t been for a long time. These kids weren’t even alive during Columbine, they’ve heard the same excuses from pro-gun politicians their entire lives. Soon they’ll be able to vote…

  119. Kim says...

    Thank you for this post. Today I received my first paycheck that has the new tax cuts incorporated. I’m going to donate those extra dollars today and going forward to one of the organizations listed above. Who’s with me?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      YES!

    • Lindsay says...

      Kim – amazing. Yes, yes, yes.

  120. Claire says...

    I am also very distressed by yesterday’s incident. I called my son’s high school today to talk about what they were doing, and got the royal runaround. I will persist.
    From the Sandy Hook Promise web site I learned that 80% of shooters told someone what they were going to do, or exhibited warning signs- which are described on their site. They also have a research-based awareness and education training program called “Say Something” that provides information intended to help stop an incident before it happens. I am so in, and I’m going to get my son educated too. Link here: https://www.sandyhookpromise.org/prevention_programs

  121. Lauren says...

    Please also consider calling your members of congress. Ask them what they are doing RIGHT NOW to fight gun violence. Ask them to be proactive. Ask to hear back from them with their plans. Make it clear that you will only vote for candidates that are taking action on this issue.

  122. Betsy says...

    When I feel that gun reform is impossible (which is most days, and felt more acutely today), I think of gay marriage. As a political issue, legal gay marriage seemed like a pipe dream just a few years ago, and now it’s the law of the land and commonly accepted (most places). There’s so much work to be done and it won’t be easy, but it’s not impossible.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      such a great point, betsy.

    • lomagirl says...

      Thank you, Betsy. I feel completely hopeless about the gun issue right now. I am looking for jobs in other countries. I’m afraid it is a “when” situation, not an “if” anymore for schools getting shot up. I have three children in 3 different schools- and I worry.

    • Carol Wayne says...

      Thank you for this…sometimes it is good to be reminded that this is not an insurmountable problem.

    • This gives me so much hope. It’s about changing people’s minds, one at a time.

    • Meredith says...

      Thank you so much for this reminder. I feel despair (along with everyone else) and so powerless. My $50 or $100 or whatever I can donate to Everytown seems like a drop in the bucket compared to the *millions* of dollars the NRA has at their disposal. But we made progress with gay marriage and hopefully we can make progress on this, too.

    • kate says...

      The difference is the NRA. There wasn’t a lobby pumping millions and millions annually into preventing gay marriage as their sole purpose. We have to keep trudging forward in the face of fatalism but we also need to acknowledge the reality that as a legislative goal, gun control is a completely different animal because of the NRA. These members of Congress have literally sold their souls. They won’t change their minds, and even if they did privately, politically, they are owned because of the money they took. There’s nothing we can do but get them out of office. Because of gerrymandering it is increasingly difficult. It is a long and uncertain road. And more children will die before it’s over.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      great point, kate.

  123. Laetitia says...

    I’m literally considering moving back to Europe because of this issue. It is insane that when I drop off my kid at his elementary school, part of me thinks the possibility that there is an active shooting in his school is very real.
    I am also scared in mall and movie theatres now.

    I just joined the Mons demand Action movement, and i’m planning on attending the next local chapter event.

    • Lisa says...

      I’m from a European country, and lived in the US for a year. The gun situation is a reason for me never to consider moving to the US for good. My country had its own share of deadly shootings, but it is nowhere near what people in the US experience, they were real isolated incidents – and afterwards, further gun control measures where taken.
      I feel with the victims and those who feel disheartened – and I hope for you that the change needed will come soon, fast <3

  124. Liz C says...

    We live in a scary world. Are we safe anywhere? My four-year year-old told me she, her classmates and teachers huddled in the bathroom until the policeman said they were safe from the monster. It was an active shooter drill. And Grace is right. Guns are in the hands of too many monsters.

  125. Meghan says...

    Consider joining Sandy Hook Promise. The organization provides a free “Say Something” programs to schools and communities. An opportunity to actually do something in these helpless times.

    https://www.sandyhookpromise.org

    • Claire says...

      Yes, I posted the same info in my comment. I want to do something besides sign petitions and write my legislators and wait for other people to decide it’s worth their commitment.

  126. CindyA says...

    A Canadian friend today commented that watching the news out of the US these days feels like watching a country commit a slow suicide. I agree – these senseless killings happen here with a frequency that is a testament to our increasing inability to actually govern ourselves.

    • Natalie says...

      So sad and so scary

    • Emilie says...

      As a Canadian I have to agree. My perspective does not come from a place of superiority – Canada has its own demons (historic and current, and they’re significant) and Canada is very far from perfect. But our histories are not so different: both British-settled experiments in democracy. Which is why the willingness of so many millions of Americans to protect the second amendment (a statutory creature of a specific historic moment) with such ferocity, in the face of tens of thousands of preventable deaths, is stunning. I cannot imagine what it would feel like to walk down a busy urban street knowing that ANYONE (let alone 2, 10, or 200 people) was carrying a gun.

      I know the majority of this wonderful CoJ community will carry similar sentiments, and my heart bleeds for you and the fear, sadness, and unsettled emotions you must feel when considering the disconnect between your values and those your compatriots who will (literally) defend the second amendment to the death.

      But I also look forward to the comments (I hope) will come that offer reasoned perspective from the “other side”. From those who can explain how the right and ease to bear arms can possibly be justified when gun culture has such a measurable and devastating impact on communities across your nation. Particularly when the victims are so often children. As we can all glean from the polarization of North American culture, politics, and values, I think that instances like this make it all the more difficult but also all the more important to come together and hear one another. I look forward to the discussion.

  127. K says...

    Thank you for this. It has been on my mind all day and I look forward to the insightful, intelligent comments from the CoJ community.

    Readers may also consider donating to mental health organizations, such as the National Alliance on Mental Health.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s a great idea, K. going to do that now.

    • Ines says...

      The link between mental illness and gun violence is over-emphasized to distract from the real issue: availability and easy access to guns. I suggest we focus our energy on pointing out the hypocrisy of “thoughts and prayers” from lawmakers who regularly de-regulate gun ownership.

  128. Karen says...

    Thank you. I feel deeply depressed, and so helpless. I want to hope that, someday, we will look back at this time in American history as a distant memory. But I feel we are too far gone and too polarized for that to ever happen.