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This is not an America any of us want to live in

Updated: Jul 14, 2022

Two weeks ago on here I wrote about how It's everyone's job to reduce gun violence. Last week I was too disheartened about the 24 hours of SCOTUS rulings that expanded gun rights while limiting women's reproductive rights to write anything at all.

This week I wanted to write about how I love Instacart as much as my dogs. I’ve been a loyal user since before the pandemic, and Laura Jones’s interview on The CMO Podcast made me love them more.

I wanted to write about the Marketoonist and how his hand drawn spoofs on marketing make me giggle.

Or about healthcare writing tips from the AP style guide.

But writing about anything other than what’s on most of our minds this week would be futile.

On July 4, I know I wasn't the only one who struggled to feel festive. Even Dan Rather's Substack's headline that morning was "Happy 4th?"

I rallied my troupes anyway, donned my red and white "Be a nice human" shirt and packed up for the local parade. But just as we were leaving, we got the alert of the mass shooting in nearby Highland Park.

Highland Park is a bike ride away. It’s the place my college friends, camp friends and adult friends all settle once they’re ready for a family-friendly community to raise their kids. A third of the town is Jewish, which is pretty significant when you consider we’re .2 percent of the world’s population.

Downtown highland Park
My sister and me at the downtown Highland Park start line for a race this past Thanksgiving.

A mass shooting there meant my friends were on the frontlines.

I spent the rest of the day making sure friends were okay, doom scrolling, praying and crying.

My LinkedIn friend, Erin Gallagher, wrote yesterday that “We are not okay.” She shared a photo of 2-year-old Aiden, who was found under his father, who died protecting him. Aiden’s face plastered my Facebook feed on Monday as mothers scrambled to identify the child in the photo, hoping that he just got lost in the shuffle. Turns out, his mother was killed in front of him too.

My colleague, Scott, shared a photo of his chairs left at the parade start, just a few feet from where the shooting occurred.

My friend, Jenna, wrote about getting separated from her mom and toddler as she tried to break tempered glass that would have let them hide in a storefront. She instead hid her grandmothers by an alley dumpster. My sister’s friend, Allison, had a similar experience, but her father was shot. He’ll be okay, physically, but no one there is okay.

The thought of having to choose between running away with my kid over protecting the slow-moving seniors I love takes my breath away.

The story of the skilled nursing staff at Sunrise Senior Living stopped me in my tracks. That team somehow managed to get their seniors out of their parade chairs and onto the senior bus in time to escape by driving over sidewalks and curbs. Clinical staff is trained to prevent falls and deliver meds. They’re not trained to protect residents from bullets.

My friends all got away. They and their children are left with horrific flashing images and grief they’ll have to carry.

Not everyone was so lucky.

Highland Park shooting

Outside of the Highland Park mass shooting, at least 9 were killed and 57 shot in the south and west side of Chicago last weekend. They barely made the news because it happens every day in certain neighborhoods here.

This is not an America I want to live in or raise my kids in. None of us do.

But this is America as long as we allow weapons of war and large capacity magazines on our streets. In fact, SCOTUS just reinforced this.

Meanwhile, most Americans actually support stronger background checks, red flag laws and other commonsense gun legislation.

Most Americans support commonsense gun legislation

But the increase in partisanship in the last several years makes us think we're pitted against one another over gun policy. I live in a mixed community of gun ownership. After the Highland Park shooting, like after any mass shooting, my Facebook feed was full of people claiming guns are not the problem.

According to data, guns – more specifically, easy access to assault weapons and high capacity magazines – are the main problem when it comes to mass shootings. Commonsense gun legislation would also reduce the everyday gun violence (that kills significantly more people than mass shootings) as well.

One thing I’ve learned from Shannon Watts of Moms Demand Action is that fighting for gun sense is a marathon, not a sprint. Recent legislation in Congress was a step forward. SCOTUS sent us back.

I can't recommend Shannon's book, Fight Like a Mother, enough for a first step in getting involved to repair our country.

Fight like a mother book

The least we can do for the countless victims of America’s mass shootings is to keep showing up to turn this ship around.

Do what you can. Give your time and money to organizations fighting for commonsense gun legislation.

To help the victims of Highland Park, click on this link

Please add more in the comments. And read my full blog from a few weeks ago, "It's everyone's job to reduce gun violence."

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