Writer’s Note: This was intended to be published Tuesday, Oct. 3, but I felt that it needed to go out sooner than that.
Today’s post is definitely going to be different from anything that I’ve ever written for the blog, but it’s something that is heavy on my heart.
One of my closest friends, who I fortunately got to see just a couple of weeks ago, lives in Vegas. Thank God, she and her husband are safe, but I can’t begin to describe the horror I felt when I woke up yesterday morning to notification after notification from CNN about what was happening in Las Vegas and the death toll rising with each new ping.
I am fairly certain I didn’t take a breath until I had conformation that my sweet friends were safe and at their house. But I know that I am also lucky that I got that text. I know that the friends and families of 58+ people weren’t that lucky.
This act of domestic terrorism (because that’s what it is), was sickening and I’m not okay with being afraid to go to the grocery store or movie theater or a concert.
Instead of saying that your prayers are with the entire community of Las Vegas, I would urge you to do something about it. There are various ways that you can get involved and help victims.
1. Over 500 people were injured during the deadliest shooting in United States history and blood is desperately needed. If you are in the greater Las Vegas area, United Blood Services will be taking donations at these locations:
(1) 6930 W. Charleston in Las Vegas
(2) 4950 W. Craig Road in Las Vegas
(3) 601 Whitney Ranch Drive in Henderson
(4) 256 E. Winnie Lane in Carson City
(5) 1125 Terminal Way in Reno
(6) 4670 Sparks Boulevard in Sparks
2. If you live outside of the Las Vegas area and still want to donate blood, you can donate money to the Southern Nevada chapter of the American Red Cross or to the National Compassion Fund, which distributes donations to victims of mass crimes, including 9/11 and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
3. If you are as shocked and horrified as I am by what happened yesterday, make your voice heard and call your representatives. Open carry, concealed weapons and machine guns are all legal in Nevada, a state in which gun owners do not need a carry permit or license. I’m not saying that all guns should be banned, but if you feel like stronger measures should be in place, please call your representative and let your opinion be known. You can also reach The House of Representatives switchboard by calling (202) 224-3121.
4. You can donate to Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada, which provides mental and physical health care to people who wouldn’t otherwise have access to it. There will be many people who will struggle to recover from the mental and emotional toll of Sunday night’s massacre and Volunteers in Medicine is a great resource to help them get the support that they need.
5. If you are in the Nashville area, the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee has established a fund to help victims. 100% of donations to the Music City Cares Fund will go directly to Las Vegas to aid in the immediate and long-term needs of victims of the shooting that took place during the Route 91 Harvest Festival.
6. Lastly, Steve Sisolak, the Clark County Commission chair from Las Vegas, has set up a verified GoFundMe donation page to help victims. Mr. Sisolak donated the first $10,000 and by the end of work day on Monday, the GoFundMe had already raised over $2 million in donations. The verified fund will be used to ‘assist victims of the tragic Las Vegas shooting’ and the minimum donation to the campaign is $5.
If you are still looking for information about a loved one who may have been present during the attack, please call (866) 535-5654.
Thanks for sticking with me and reading this.
My thoughts and prayers are with the entire community in Las Vegas,