How to Help the People of Las Vegas After the Shooting
Because thoughts and prayers are nice, but not enough... We're still reeling in the details from last night's horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas. Which is being reported as the deadliest in modern U.S. history. What we know: A lone gunman, identified by police as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, positioned on a 32nd floor room at the Mandalay Bay Hotel fired into a crowd of concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. At least 58 people were killed, including an off-duty Vegas police officer; more than 500 people were taken to the hospital. Afterwards, SWAT officers discovered Paddock dead in his hotel room from a reported self-inflicted injury. Whenever tragedy strikes we scramble to find meaning, assign blame, and make sense of the situation. We offer our thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families - but that doesn't really do shit. So here's what we can do to help. 1- Donate Blood If you’re in the Vegas area, a number of facilities are currently taking blood donations, including United Blood Services in Vegas, which is located at 6930 West Charleston Boulevard; the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, which will hold its blood drive at the Delta Point Building; and a number of Red Cross blood drives that are currently listed on the organization’s website, Newsweek reports. For those who aren’t in the Vegas area, the site recommends supporting the National Compassion Fund, which has previously worked with victims and families affected by the Sandy Hook school shooting and 9/11. Regardless of your location, donate blood as your city may one day be in need. Do not wait for tragedy. Here's a resource to find blood donation centers in your city. 2- Donate to a GoFundMe or an Organization Steve Sisolak, the Clark County Commission Chair has teamed up with the Las Vegas Sheriff’s department to create a GoFundMe to help the victims and their families. Given the scale of this shooting and the number of hospitalizations, there will likely be other families seeking contributions as well. Additionally a donation to the Red Cross also always helps at a time like this, as they will have been on the ground helping out as soon as news of the shooting emerged. You can also donate to local organizations in Las Vegas, particularly those who provide counseling to those who need it. Many people will be struggling to recover from this event on a mental and emotional level, and you can help get them the care that they need. One such organization to donate to is Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada, which provides mental and physical health care to people who don't have access to it otherwise. 3- Contact Elected Officials There will definitely be much discussion in upcoming weeks surrounding Nevada’s gun control laws, which are apparently among some of the most lax in the country. Salon writes: “Nevada state law does not require residents to obtain a purchasing permit, register or license for either handguns or rifles and shotguns, according to the National Rifle Association’s website. The NRA website also says that you don’t need a permit in order to carry rifles and shotguns, although one is required in order to carry a handgun. Nevada also does not impose a mandatory waiting periodbefore allowing residents to purchase a firearm.” By contacting elected officials like senators, representatives, and members of Congress, you are doing your part to impact the gun control laws, which could lead to government better regulating the use of unsafe guns. 4- Don't Spread Inaccurate Information We're all eager to get the information out there, but let's take a beat before posting something. Do a little intel to make sure it's legit. I completely understand feeling helpless and just wanting to do *something* - but if you're feeling that way, try doing one of the above and let yourself deal with your emotions in a healthy way.