Do hug your mom.
Hug your dad. Hug your cat. Hug anyone who means something to you. Show affection for those who have your heart. Be kind. Be compassionate. Enjoy time with loved ones while you have it. Give as many hugs as possible while you still have the chance.
Do call your grandma.
In the same vein, you should tell the ones you love that you love them as often as possible. It’s an age-old (and cliché) saying to “not put off tomorrow what you can do today,” but showing your loved ones you love them is an action that this principle should absolutely guide. Of course, we’re human and sometimes that doesn’t happen.
On days like these, be grateful for your family and friends and even frenemies and people who have made you a better person by challenging you and disliking you. Don’t wait until tomorrow to tell the people who mean something to you that you love them, you care for them, and are thankful for them. You might not ever get the chance. And what a sad thought that is.
Let yourself be sad. Days like these are sad. It’s incredibly sad and depressing that innocent people die at the hands of someone else. It’s sad that families lose their loved ones and friends lose friends. It’s sad that we keep having to hear the same story over and over again.
Do be angry.
Get angry. Get fucking MAD. It’s not okay that things like this happen. Be outraged. But be productive in your rage. Do something to take a step toward change, and a world where we don’t have to wake up to more tragedy. How many more lives need to be taken at the hands of gunmen? How many more beautiful souls must we lose until our anger turns to action?
Do remember those who were lost, and offer condolences to their friends and families.
Share photos, share stories, share memories. Honor the wonderful lives that were lost too soon. If you pray, lift them up in prayer. Lift them up in your hearts regardless.
Do be thankful you are alive and healthy.
You are here and living and breathing and that’s amazing. Not everyone gets to wake up two days in a row to say that. Don’t take that for granted. Ever.
Do count your blessings.
On days like this, you might find yourself to be a bit more reflective than usual. That’s okay. Let yourself think about all the good happening in your life. There’s probably more than you’d think.
Don’t share the killer’s videos.
Don’t give them the satisfaction, glorification, attention, and fame they are seeking. Just don’t do it.
Don’t say the killer’s name.
See above. It’s not worth it. They aren’t worth it.
Don’t make it political.
It’s easy to blame guns for incidents like this. (And, honestly, incidents like this couldn’t happen without guns, but that’s a different story that I won’t touch on here). Guns are not the only problem. People are. Don’t take the opportunity to leverage others’ grief for political gain or speculation. The time following a shooting or tragic incident should be about the victims, not voting matters.
Don’t make it a race issue.
Black, white, brown, or purple – someone’s skin color is not the trait we should focus on here. Someone who pulls the trigger to take a life has problems that run much deeper than skin deep. While race might play an issue, it’s not the sole one. Focusing on race or playing the race card after incidents like this one takes away from the severity of it, as well as the opportunity for conversation and dialogue about how to make positive change.
Don’t believe the hype.
The media LOVES to share negative stories because it gets the people going. Don’t get drawn in. Focus on the positive. Don’t gossip. Do your research so you fully understand the situation.
Don’t forget that what happened is affecting someone deeply and aggressively, and rocking their world.
Tragedies don’t happen to hypothetical people and places. They happen to real people in real towns. It was surreal to see friends from all over the world posting about a shooting that happened in my backyard. Don’t forget that the events you are talking about affect real people just like you, your mom, your brother, or your old co-worker. Try to avoid being insensitive in such a difficult and trying time. Imagine if you were in their shoes, and act the way you’d want the public to act if it was you.