This weekend, shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio left 29 dead and dozens more injured. As of today, there have now been 255 mass shootings in the United States this year; mass shootings are generally defined as an incident in which four or more people are shot and/or killed.
According to the not-for-profit Gun Violence Archive, there were three other shootings this weekend in addition to the high-profile incidents in El Paso and Dayton — one in Memphis, and two in Chicago. And last weekend there was the shooting in Gilroy, California at the city’s annual garlic festival.
The high frequency of mass shootings is continuing to spur anger and frustration across the country, primarily directed at congressional lawmakers who have not made significant changes on gun-control legislation. The often-used term “thoughts and prayers” no longer holds meaning for many — people want changes made that will stop these tragedies.
Many are left feeling a need to help in some way, but are unsure of how to do so. Here are four things the average American can do to help victims and their families, and prevent future shootings:
Injured victims and families of the deceased need to pay for hospital and funeral expenses. It’s an immediate need, and one of the simplest ways to make a difference. You can donate to individual and community victims’ funds, like the El Paso Victims Relief Fund, or to the American Red Cross so that they can continue to mobilize volunteers.
2. Donate Blood
Non-profit community blood service provider Vitalant said yesterday that more than 240 units of blood have already gone out to victims. They need help replenishing supplies, so visit bloodhero.com or call 877-258-4825 to make an appointment. Police are also working with the local blood bank in Dayton to set up donation opportunities.
3. Give a Tip
If you’re local to Dayton and witnessed the shooting, call police hotlines at 937-333-COPS or 937-225-6217 to help with the investigation.
4. Demand Action
Students Demand Action and Moms Demand Action staged a protest in Washington, DC yesterday to demand gun control. Visit the Moms Demand Action website linked below to learn more about getting involved. Individually, you can call your district’s Congress member to voice your opinion on gun control legislation. Go to USA.Gov linked below to learn how to contact your elected officials.