How To Help Shooting Victims & Their Families After Two Consecutive Massacres
A shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas left at least 20 people dead and more than two dozen injured this Saturday. Less than 24 hours later, in Dayton, Ohio, a gunman who opened fire in a busy area left at least nine people dead and 16 injured. With two back-to-back tragedies rattling America, many are wondering how to help the shooting victims and their families.
While details are still unfolding about the two attacks, they mark 251 mass shootings in the United States in just 216 days, according to USA Today. Following the Texas shooting, the El Paso Police Department confirmed that one person was in custody and in Dayton, the shooter was killed.
After the shooting in Dayton, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine “offered his condolences,” according to the city mayor and in Texas, Gov. Greg Abott said in statement to Twitter, “The El Paso community was struck by a heinous and senseless act of violence today. Our hearts go out to the victims of this horrific shooting and to the entire community in this time of loss."
While many politicians are sending their “thoughts and prayers” to the victims and their families, others are taking action to aid those affected. And on that note, here are four ways you can help those touched by the El Paso and Dayton shootings.
Take A Moment To Donate Blood
If you are in the area, you can help the injured victims by donating blood. While Vitilant, in El Paso, had reached capacity for walk-in donations yesterday, three locations will be open for donations on Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m local time.
The locations for donations are:
- 424 S. Mesa Hills Dr.
- 1338 N. Zaragoza Rd.
- Abundant Living Faith Center at 1000 Valley Crest
In addition, there is a donation center 40 miles outside of El Paso at Las Cruces Mesilla Valley Mall, located at 700 S Telshor Blvd. Las Cruces, New Mexico 88011.
Lyft is offering free rides to the centers up to $15 with the code ELPRELIEF19. And, according to Vitilant, if you cannot make it to the walk-in donations, you can also make an appointment at bloodhero.com or call 1-877-258-4825 for the upcoming week, which the organization says will be just as helpful.
In Ohio, officials are still working to set up blood bank centers for the victims. However, there will be a vigil held at 8 p.m. local time Sunday for those in the area, according to ABC News.
Your Money Can Go A Long Way
After an influx of water and snack donations, the El Paso Police Department tweeted, “We ask the community to consider providing monetary donations.” The official donation page to support El Paso victims is hosted by Paso Del Norte Community Foundation and can be found on its website.
While no official fund has been launched in Dayton yet, you can donate to the local Red Cross.
Contact Your State Representatives
Because significant change in gun control laws take place at the state and federal level, it is important to contact you state representatives in Congress. Those in Ohio can find their senators' and representatives' information here, along with contact information for each state official based on zip code. Texas citizens can find similar information online here as well.
Register To Vote In Preparation For 2020
With the 2020 election just around the corner, it is important to register to vote to make a direct impact on gun control laws.
According to CNN, the El Paso shooter was wearing body armor and used a “0.223 high-capacity gun” with additional magazines. The rifle was used as a standard United States military weapon, but was recently phased out.
Voting for representatives and a leader who understands the importance of laws put in place to curb gun attainment and use can prevent additional mass shootings from taking place.
For many states, registration deadlines for the next election are coming up in October.