No matter where you fall on the question of gun laws, we can all agree that what happened in Florida is a national tragedy, and as a nation, we can mourn with and for the families who lost loved ones and the students who will never be the same. Many have felt the calling to “do something” about the incident, but are nervous to get involved in the messy political sphere. Even outside of running for an office or championing one set of laws or another, you can demonstrate your support for the victims in a myriad of meaningful ways. Here are a few:
Donate to a counseling center: Many of the survivors and classmates of the victims will now suffer long battles with PTSD, anxiety, depression, and other serious psychological issues that could cause them trouble for the rest of their lives. To help defray the cost of treatment for them and others like them, consider donating money to the YWCA or another counseling service that will help these young people work through this tragedy with a professional.
Donate blood: Similarly to the call after the Pulse shooting in Orlando, many hospitals rely on dwindling blood donations when a crisis of this magnitude hits. As you’re physically able, donating blood to your local hospital could mean the difference between life and death for a person who needs an emergency transfusion due to gun violence. You can contact your local Red Cross to orchestrate a school-wide or company-wide blood donation day, complete with snacks and mascots.
Donate school supplies: Teachers and students alike have to resume business as usual in schools with bullet holes in walls and classrooms destroyed, so even small gestures of school supplies would go a long way. From construction paper to phone chargers to corkboard materials, anything that will help everyone return to some sense of normalcy will go a long way in helping to heal.
Talk with your families about gun safety measures: No matter your personal relationship with guns and the second amendment, you and your family can still have a very frank discussion about how to respect the weapons for the power they wield. Go over some of the basic gun safety rules, such as never playing with a gun, never pointing it at another person no matter whether it’s loaded, and never touching a gun without the supervision of a trusted adult.