A devastating tragedy on Thursday night ended in loss of life when several police officers were shot and killed at a protest in Dallas, Texas. A terrifying scene of shots fired had crowds running for cover and several officers down. As of midnight ET, at least four officers had been killed and even more injured, and in times when you feel helpless watching tragedy from afar, know that there are still ways to help the Dallas police shooting victims and their families in this awful time.
People have an innate desire to help those who are suffering, and it's good to see that there's humanity in so many people, as sad as it is that it often takes tragedy for us to remember that. After the shooting in Dallas, people already want to help, and the country is grateful for that. Whether it's the loss of police officers at the hands of snipers, or the loss of a man at the hands of police, a life is a life, and there are so many ways we can help ease the pain, as well as ensure this can't happen again.
Whether you're in Texas and can help in person, or even if you're elsewhere in the country or the world, here are several ways you can help the police officers who were shot and killed, as well as their families, friends, and every person whose lives they might have touched:
As we saw after the mass shooting in Orlando, blood donations are one of the most important ways you can help after violence like this. If you're in Dallas, Fort Worth, or nearby areas, you can donate blood. In fact, it's more crucial now than ever. Just on Tuesday, the Dallas Red Cross issued an emergency request for blood donations, as their supply had fallen short. Find a nearby Red Cross here, or visit a Carter BloodCare center.
Watch For Fundraisers
While it might still be too early to find fundraisers to directly help the families involved, you can absolutely keep an eye out for them. GoFundMe is a commonly used crowdfunding site, and you're likely to see funds set up to help those in need within a few days.
Don't Forget Them
Dallas Police Chief David Brown confirmed Thursday that at least 10 officers had been shot by snipers at "elevated positions" while at the demonstration and asked the public to "keep us in your thoughts and prayers tonight." It's important to remember the lives of those who were killed, not just their deaths, and it's also crucial to remember the dozens and hundreds and thousands of people who were affected by the loss of their loved one. By remembering the way they lived and celebrating their lives, you'll honor them in one of the best ways possible.
Find An Organization That Helps The Fallen
There are several organizations that support police officers, and there are specifically organizations that exist to help police officers who have died in the line of duty. Law Enforcement United is an annual bike ride that supports several organizations that honor the fallen. The Officer Down Memorial Page "pays a lasting tribute" to every officer who has died. And the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund organizes National Police Week as well as an annual memorial for the fallen officers.
Support Gun Control
It's a clear fact that shootings are much less likely to happen if guns are not as easy to access as they are right now. Organizations like the Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence do exactly what its name suggests — prevent tragedies like this from happening. And please don't say that actually more guns would prevent this. Every officer is armed with a weapon, and that was not enough to stop this situation. Consider making it harder for the everyday public to get a gun, to protect the lives of Americans, including police officers.