What you can do to prevent the next Orlando

By | June 13, 2016

gun-control-210x210Do you know what you can do to help prevent future tragedies like Orlando?

“Thoughts and prayers” won’t do it. Neither will candlelight vigils, angry postings on Facebook, Twitter, and Medium, signing on-line petitions, or shouting your loathing of gun nuts and bigots from the rooftops.

Only one thing will help prevent crazed gunmen from buying weapons whose only purpose is to slaughter people and then using those weapons for their intended purpose: electing a president, governors, and federal and state senators and representatives who aren’t beholden to Big Carnage.

As the Supreme Court so inelegantly reminded us in Citizens United, money talks, and the NRA and its ilk have spent hundreds of millions of dollars for the sole purpose of preventing sensible gun control. While we may deplore the corrupting influence of money on politics, our righteous indignation has about as much chance of effecting change as “thoughts and prayers.”

How much is it worth to you to help prevent the next massacre — and the one after that, and the one after that? Is it worth more than unlimited streaming on Netflix? More than Game of Thrones on HBO Go? More than buying lunch at work everyday because brown-bagging is annoying? More than your daily Starbucks?

The question isn’t how you can afford to support sensible gun control. The question is how you can afford not to.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Decide how much money you’re willing to budget to the effort, and divide it as you prefer among the following:
    • Make a recurring contribution to Americans For Responsible Solutions PAC, the organization founded by Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly to support sensible gun control. (http://americansforresponsiblesolutions.org/)
    • Make recurring contributions to one or more of these candidates for Congress in competitive races. (http://blog.kamens.us/take-back-congress-2016/)
    • Make a recurring donation to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, which is working to win state legislative seats and chambers for candidates who will vote for sensible gun control. (http://www.dlcc.org/)
  2. Find out if your state and federal senators and representatives and your state’s governor support sensible gun control. (e.g., http://thedailybeast.thisisyourreponguns.com/, http://www.ontheissues.org/)
    • If they do, then make a donation to their reelection campaign and send them a letter telling them that you donated and that you’ll continue to support them as long as they continue to support sensible gun control.
    • If they don’t, send them a letter telling them you will oppose them with your wallet and your vote until they do the right thing.
  3. Money is the biggest predictor of winning elections, and time is money. Decide how much TIME you can budget to helping get the right candidates elected. Then pick a candidate — local, state, or federal — who inspires you, and VOLUNTEER.
    • In many races you can make phone calls on behalf of the campaign on your own schedule from the comfort of your own home.
    • If your schedule and life circumstances permit it, put your feet on the ground canvassing, driving people to the polls on election day, helping people in voter-ID states jump through registration hoops, or doing whatever else the campaign tells you it needs help with.

    Note: while ranting on social media may be cathartic and help you find your tribe, unless you happen to have millions of followers, it doesn’t count as volunteering.

  4. Get the word out: share this posting!

Here’s a bonus for those of you who have read this far: I will match, dollar for dollar, any contribution anyone makes as outlined above, up to $1,000 total. Just forward to me the email receipt for your contribution and give me permission to verify it with the recipient.

(Please email me if you are able to support this call to action by joining me in matching contributions.)

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