Unless you live under a rock (which let’s be honest, sounds pretty darn tempting right now), you can’t miss what happened in Orlando this weekend. It’s shocking and horrifying… and yet it’s starting to feel a little commonplace. President Obama has given 16 “mass shooting” addresses. Sixteen mass shootings since he was inaugurated in 2009. Let that sink in.
Now, I’m not bringing up the President to blame him. That’s not the point. I don’t know who to blame. The shooter, obviously. Our society for creating hate? Religious extremism for promoting violence? The list goes on and on.
I’m not going to discuss the gun argument here, but I do think it’s a discussion that needs to be had, not by people who just want to yell at each other and point fingers, but by people who can make a rational decision as to what should happen next, and what will and won’t help.
But after an incident like this, we’re always wondering what we can do. While there has been a lot of outpouring of support in the form of words and thoughts and prayers. And these are all great, but actions are even better when you can take them. I hope you have seen the images of the people in Orlando and the surrounding communities lined up to donate blood over the past few days. And it’s still needed – the blood supply in the area was significantly diminished and they need to rebuild their stock. And if you aren’t in Orlando, donating blood wherever you are is always a good thing to do for your community. Your neighbors will thank you.
The other thing we can do is talk about it. Because this should be a big deal. It should be big news. It shouldn’t just be something that happens regularly in our country. I was listening to a podcast yesterday where one of the hosts talked about the “active shooter” drills they do in their high school. I’ve had active shooter training at work. We laugh about it, but it’s kind of terrifying to think about. In high school, we had fire drills and tornado drills. We never had to worry about someone coming in and attacking us in class. And now we do.
Something should be done, and I know our nation has the knowledge and intelligence to figure out what and how. It won’t be easy and it won’t be fun, but it needs to be done.