I, like many of you, awoke to the news of another mass shooting last Thursday morning. This time in Thousand Oaks, CA. The victims were largely college students, likely trying to blow off steam at the weekly country western night. Some were students at Pepperdine, the school my brother and sister-in-law attended.
My heart breaks for the victim’s families and friends. For the survivors who will be forced into the same ridiculous club I’ve joined. My prayer list just keeps growing.
Before it happened to me, my emotions after a shooting cycled pretty consistently from despair to anger to complacency. I found myself in that cycle two weeks ago as I returned to Louisville from my second surgery in Cincinnati, only to hear the news of a shooting at a Kroger where I used to work, in which two innocent people died. My customers shopped there. I ruminated on the shooting. Had nightmares. Couldn’t get it off my mind. Mourned for the victims. And finally, I decided much of it wasn’t productive. I told myself, “You have a chance to be productive. You can make a difference. Get back to work.” If your emotions follow that same cycle, try transitioning to action instead of complacency.
Many of you feel the same way and I know you have put your faith in me to make a difference with gun violence. While establishing a non-profit can take time, especially when the executive director is recovering from multiple bullet wounds and surgeries, we are certainly making progress. Let me share some of it with you.
First and foremost, we are in the midst of building the team. I will share bios over the coming weeks but we’ve filled the director roles for internet security, firearm education, marketing, mental health, market research, operations, and political partnerships.
I’m also working on the strategic plan and while it is not yet ready for circulation, I can share we are focused on placing a spotlight on the deficiencies riddled throughout our mental health infrastructure, as well as gun laws across the United States. A spotlight that will drive change and ultimately lead to a reduction in gun violence.
I understand the feeling of helplessness and the desire to do something. Much of what we are looking to accomplish will take time, which is why I’m also focused on giving you opportunities to plug into activities that can make an impact quickly. I hope to share those opportunities with you very soon!
As we’ve all witnessed, due to political discourse, there’s a small window for success in this space. I will continue to work on thoughtful solutions that give us the best chance for success and will share when ready. Thank you for being patient and I look forward to engaging you soon!