After Parkland here’s what you can do to help the victims of shootings
Weeks after a shooter killed 17 people at a school in Parkland, Florida, protests, walk-outs, sit-ins and other efforts aim to support the victims of mass shootings in the US.
The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is the latest in a spate of mass shootings which included the Orlando Pulse massacre where LGBT people were specifically targeted and 49 people were killed.
The shooting has reinvigorated the debate over gun control and access to assault weapons in America.
But if you are unable to participate in a walk-out, or don’t have the money to donate to an appropriate fund to support victims, there are still other things you can do to help.
Check out the actions you can take below, and don’t forget to share other ideas in the comments below.
Write to your political representatives
Writing to, emailing or calling congressional representatives to ask them to legislate for stronger gun control is one way you can help.
There are midterm elections coming up in the next year, and stronger gun control legislation could help prevent more mass shootings.
It is also possible to contact political representatives using social media, online forums, by calling Congress or writing to them there. This is an important way to make your voice heard.
Donating blood is a great thing to do anyway if you are not limited by arbitrary rules on donation such as that exist in various jurisdictions, but if you live close to where a shooting has taken place, or even in the same state, donating blood could directly help in the fallout of a shooting.
Those local to Parkland, Florida, can donate to OneBlood, a donation centre which has put out an appeal for O-negative type blood.
Otherwise searching for where to donate blood can be a massive help, and OneBlood’s website is here.
Take to the streets
Marching, protesting and demonstrating are other ways in which you can make your voice heard about the issue of gun control and to show solidarity and support for the victims of shootings like that at Parkland.
An upcoming protest is the March For Our Lives, which will take place on 24 March in Washington DC.
Organisers call for stronger gun control, reform of gun laws and safety in schools.
The March For Our Lives website reads: “Every kid in this country now goes to school wondering if this day might be their last. We live in fear.
“It doesn’t have to be this way. Change is coming. And it starts now, inspired by and led by the kids who are our hope for the future. Their young voices will be heard.”
Keep the discussion going
Whether it is to talk about gun control, invite friends and family to protest or share any ways in which other people can help, talking about the issue of gun control so it doesn’t go off the agenda until the next tragedy is key.
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Sharing information on social media is another way to inform others about the tragedy and the other effects of gun violence.
And encouraging others to share information, protest and contact their political representatives could also save lives in the future.
Look up local organisations which fight for stricter gun controls.
There are groups specific to school shootings such as Moms Demand Action and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and would gratefully accept your time as a volunteer.