What You Can Do After The Tragedy In Las Vegas

What You Can Do After The Tragedy In Las Vegas

The largest mass shooting in history

I have shied away from posting anything on what happened in Las Vegas, Nevada, because of several reasons. For one, as soon as it happened it turned into a political debate. Also, I have so many questions about what happened and how it happened. Lastly, I am shocked and heartbroken that someone decided to make a festival an unsafe place to be, and harming so many innocent participants.

What really hits home is that this horrific event happened at a country festival, which is something my mother and I attend frequently. The number of country concerts I have seen in my life and would like to continue to do is crazy. This person not only killed 59 people and injured over 500 but has made me fear going to a concert myself or with my mother and worrying this happen to me. I can’t even begin to comprehend how someone, no matter who they are in terms of race, religion, gender etc., could do this to other human beings.

Along with feeling heartbroken for those affected by this tragedy, I am angry. I am angry that the first response to this event is a political agenda, and debates on whether or not a white person can be a terrorist. Our first response should be to help those affected and to pray for those who were killed and the family and friends who will suffer the pain of grief. The people of Nevada need our help right now. It’s obvious that guns laws will be debated after this event, but we need to at least help those who were affected FIRST. It has only been a couple days (this being written three days after the event), and we are already focused on what to do politically, that we haven’t thought to help first. Everyone deals with tragedy differently, but there is a time and place start talking about what we can do in terms of laws, to make sure this doesn’t happen again. It happened, so we need to deal with the aftermath first, then talk about preventive measures.

There are several things we need to do to help.

The first thing you can do, if you can, is donate blood, especially if you have a rare blood type. One pint of blood donated can help three individuals.

The next thing we can do is to stop sharing this the person’s name and information. The shooter does not deserve to be famous. This person does not deserve to be in any spotlight under any circumstance, no one who does these sort of things deserves to.

This goes with, stop sharing pictures and videos of the event. I know if anyone I knew was there I wouldn’t want to see his or her dead body posted all over social media. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected. I hope yours do too.

Cover Image Credit: prayitnophotography / Flickr

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.

What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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A thought on what happens after life.


It's an infinite loop intertwined with life that all humans have to deal with.

It's a looming shadow that leads to a hole in the ground.

It's a terrifying presence in everyday life, and you never really know when the scaly, slithering snake will strike.

It doesn't discriminate; It loves to take the youngest, it loves to take the oldest, and loves to take everything in between.

It's the silence before the storm and the storm itself.

It prowls, it preys, on the weakest.

It is both the biggest, strongest bear and the deadliest bug bite.

Death, it is the blackened stumps of the wildlife caught in the worst of fires.

Yet, it can be beautiful.

Most wouldn't think so, probably have never put "death" and "beautiful" together in the same sentence, let alone even in the same paragraph.

But death is beautiful.

It can be like the last whisper of a fall breeze before winter sets in.

Or is like the sunset, right when the last of the red from the sinking sun fades from the darkened night sky.

It can be the peace on a late Sunday afternoon, sitting in the shade of a giant tree in the summer.

It's like taking the hand of the partner you've decided to live with, even after fighting with them.

It's the hand you use to stroke the head of kittens, and the hand you use to scratch puppies tummies.

It's the hand that gives, but it is also the hand that takes away.

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