How To Help El Paso & Dayton Shooting Victims & Support Their Communities

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Along with many other emotions, one of the biggest feelings that comes along with news of a mass shooting is helplessness. And with stats like the fact that there have been more mass shootings in the U.S. than days in the year in 2019, it's no wonder. Still, there are things ordinary people can do to try to help the El Paso and Dayton shooting victims — and, really, all of us, since a larger solution to our gun laws hasn't yet happened.

Over the weekend, shootings occurred in both El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. The El Paso attack, which took place in a Walmart, left 20 people killed and over two dozen injured, as reported by CBS News. The Dayton shooting was in an area of the city with a lot of restaurants and bars and claimed nine lives and also left over two dozen people injured. A man, Patrick Crusius, has been arrested in connection to the El Paso shooting; the Dayton shooter, Conner Betts, was killed by police on the scene, reports USA Today.

In order to help the victims of these horrific acts, there are a variety of things people can do. First, there's donating blood to help those who were injured. The El Paso Times noted that blood could be donated at Vitalent Blood Services, but due to an overwhelming response, an appointment should be made before stopping by. In Dayton, there is the Community Blood Center. You also may be able to find a list of blood drives in your area, no matter where you're located, on a site like The Blood Connection.

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Another way to help out is to donate money to organizations that are fighting for gun control. Everytown for Gun Safety brought together groups that were already fighting for change — Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and Students Demand Action — along with survivors of gun violence to fight for stricter gun laws. There's March for Our Lives, which was created by students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in response to the 2018 shooting there. Giffords, founded by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who herself was shot during an assassination attempt, also works to reduce gun violence. And these are just a few of the many organizations out there.

Money can also be donated to help victims more directly. The Dayton Oregon District Tragedy Fund has been established by The Dayton Foundation, with the donations going to the families of the victims. In El Paso, the El Paso Community Foundation has set up a fund.

Lastly, and one of the most simple ways to help out, is to contact your government representatives and urge them to act on gun control. You can find your senators' contact information here and your House representative here. If you call, often, you'll get a voicemail box where you can leave your name, state that you are a constituent, and voice your thoughts — however brief or lengthy — on gun laws in America. More information on what to say or how to say it can be found here.

It's only natural to feel hopeless at times like this, but through that hopelessness, anyone can still take action in whatever way works best for them.