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Let’s not forget this time. Let’s actually change what’s going on.
[/pullquote]Several people greeted me yesterday with the standard, “hey! How was your weekend?”

What do you say when people awkwardly forget the worst shooting in recent history the day after it happens?

The responses that popped into my head were both accurate and completely inappropriate for casual greetings. “Scary.” “Confusing.” “Full of sorrow and frustration at this horrible world.” “Tragic! How about yours?”

I managed to shrug and mumble something about feeling “sorta” upset about the Orlando “thing.” I don’t like making acquaintances feel uncomfortable.

“Oh I know, how horrible, right? Just awful. Anyway, have you had coffee yet?”

How quickly we all forget and move on.

The Pulse nightclub shooting may feel like a strange, personal earthquake for those of us connected to the LGBTQ community, shaking certain people so badly that we run into the bathroom at work in tears while our coworkers and friends seem perfectly functional and unaffected.

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After only a few months, news outlets stopped talking about Sandy Hook.
[/pullquote]However, soon we’ll forget too.

The 24 hour news cycles and stories of unimaginable violence generate a certain helplessness and collective amnesia. Forgetting is the only way we can survive hearing about such horrors. After only a few months, news outlets stopped talking about Sandy Hook and started focusing on new atrocities, more recent shock, fresher blood. And there are so many new horrible things to report! The plight of Syrian refugees, Ferguson, hate mongering Presidential candidates, the Stanford rapist, yet another shooting. We’re frequently paralyzed in the face of a barrage of devastating news. What can we do? There’s too much of it. It feels more comfortable to forget and move on, especially when we don’t know what to do.

Let’s not forget this time. Let’s actually change what’s going on.

I want to study peace fiercely.

Studying peace fiercely is about doing more than just wishing the world was different. I do not want to “long” for peace fiercely. I want to study–I want to be strategic and find solutions to this problem. I want to study how our world could allow something like this to happen, and I want to figure out how to change. And then, I want to act.

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How do we end mass shootings in this country? What are steps we can take?
[/pullquote]The Orlando shooting happened during Shavuot, and I find deep meaning in the way this tragedy happened on this holiday in particular. Shavuot is a holiday that comes seven weeks after Passover, which commemorates the Jewish people receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai. We celebrate this holiday by receiving the Torah and by USING it. We have parties where we study Torah all night, just for fun. It’s like finals, but without the tests. We like studying so much, we bring research and text analysis into our most joyous holidays! We bring studying into everything we do! We bring it into our daily lives with Daf Yomi; we bring it into our coming of age ceremonies with B’nai Mitzvot dvarim. We are a people who are passionate about using our brains. So let’s use them!

We can use our brains to bring an end to such evil attacks in our country. If we stop whirling about in helplessness for a moment and actually start to study the problem, I have faith that we’ll figure out solutions.

We have to fight the NRA. We can call our government representatives and yell at them. We can find lists of government officials who accepted money from the NRA, and we can share them. We can elect new people. We can shame people connected to the NRA in the media. We can form foundations and/or alliances with the express goal of taking down the NRA. The NRA is no longer a group of decent hunters interested in promoting gun safety and trainings; it has become the prime example of everything that is wrong with our political system and our country in general. It’s time we do something about it.

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I believe we’re all brave enough to change the world together.
[/pullquote]Don’t think any of my ideas are good ones? Okay, great–then you suggest a few! Let’s brainstorm here. How do we end mass shootings in this country? What are steps we can take? Let’s move forward and think of real solutions.

I believe in bringing about change in our lifetime. I am not a policy maker, but I am affected by policy and lack thereof, as are we all. I don’t have all the answers about how we’re going to stop gun violence yet, but I’m brave enough to start asking the right questions. I believe we’re all brave enough to start asking the right questions and pursuing justice tirelessly. I believe we’re all brave enough to change the world together.