Update: According to officials, two of the suspected San Bernardino shooters are dead following a shoot-out with police, and one of the suspected shooters is a female. Late Wednesday authorities identified the suspects killed as Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the woman, and said they had been in a relationship. Farook was a U.S. citizen and an employee of the of the San Bernardino County Health Department. Further details about Malik are not yet known. Police also detained a third individual at the scene, but it's unclear whether or not that person is connected to the shooting at the Inland Regional Center (where officials say they might have found an explosive device).
In a press conference earlier, the San Bernardino Police Department Chief Jarrod Burguan confirmed that up to three people opened fire at Inland Regional Center, leaving upwards of 14 people dead, with at least 21 additional people injured. At the time of the press conference, law enforcement was still clearing the scene, and the search for the suspects was ongoing.
Earlier: On Wednesday afternoon, a shooting occurred in San Bernardino, California at the Inland Regional Center. Since the initial reports began at 11:15 a.m. PST, 14 people have been killed and 17 more injured. Police reported that this incident was the work of three shooters, two of whom — including one woman — have been caught.
Now that police have apprehended two suspects, and could be closing on the third, it's time focus on the people who were affected most by this tragedy: the victims. As what happens after any tragedy, Americans are looking for ways to help and pay tribute to the victims of the San Bernardino shooting. And there are plenty of ways to do this that don't involve donating to a victims' fund.
Wednesday's events brought to light to very important issues facing the United States. The first being poor gun laws. The San Bernardino shooting was the 353rd mass shooting of 2015. And it took place in California, a state with strict gun laws. The fact that a tragedy of this magnitude occurred in a state with such rigid laws proves that Americans need to do more to change gun control laws and make that a priority for legislators.
The second issues is lack of resources for people with developmental disabilities. The shooting took place at the Inland Regional Center, a non-profit that helps individuals with developmental disabilities by providing a "service system that helps identify and eliminate barriers" for themselves and their families. It's heartbreaking that something to horrific had to occur at an organization that does so much good.
By further bringing these two issues to light, you can not only pay tribute to the San Bernardino victims, but create a change that the world so desperately needs. Here are just five ways you can honor those who lost their lives on Wednesday.
1Donate To The Inland Regional Center
Because of it's non-profit status, the Inland Regional Center's funds are dictated by government budget. And, oftentimes, that's not enough. By donating to the Inland Regional Center, you will help the organization continue its mission of helping individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.
2Write To Your State Rep Demanding Better Gun Control
Better gun control laws are the only way to minimize the amount of gun violence in America. By contacting your state representative and letting them know this an issue that affects your vote, they may be more motivated to work towards better control laws.
3Volunteer With Organizations That Help People With Developmental Disabilities
The events in San Bernardino not only bring control issues to light, but also makes us aware that there are thousands (if not millions) of people and families dealing with developmental disabilities. Working with organizations like The Arc, Autism Speaks, United Cerebral Palsy, and other non-profits that help those with developmental disabilities is an amazing way to honor those who were killed at the Inland Regional Center.
4Donate To Gun Control Parties
Similarly to writing to your state representative, supporting a party that prioritizes gun control is a way to create change at the highest levels. Several of the 2016 presidential candidates support stricter gun laws, so it shouldn't be difficult to find one that falls under your political party.
5Share A Powerful Meme
You alone can not change the world. By sharing a powerful meme or tweet, you make others aware of the Sand Bernardino shooting and the changes needed to keep similar events from happening.