In the aftermath of a tragedy like Las Vegas, it’s important to honor the victims in a way that’s tasteful and respectful to the National Rifle Association. Just follow these five rules of thumb.
1. Put your feelings into a Facebook post that glosses over the “guns” and “shooting” aspect: A public outpouring of grief, love, and sympathy that dodges any mention of guns or shooting is a perfect, heartfelt way to honor those we’ve lost. You don’t need to have it all figured out; just write from the heart while skirting anything that would make the NRA anxious or uncomfortable. Putting it on Facebook gives your friends and family the opportunity to share their feelings, too, while giving you the power to delete any post that gets too explicit about the assault weapons thing.
2. Start a dialogue about loss and mourning, broadly speaking: Tragedy comes in many forms, and we’re all touched by it at some point. Inviting people to talk about loss and mourning in the broadest possible sense can bring those who’re hurting together with those who’ve weathered tragedy before, without encouraging anyone to disrespectfully point fingers at the NRA over its lobbying for more lax background checks or increased magazine sizes. Now’s the time for nonspecific healing, not badgering the NRA before it’s even had time to prepare a carefully worded statement.
3. Organize a silent, signless vigil: Few things are more moving than seeing a community come together for a candlelight vigil. Fiery speakers, angry chants, or provocative signs about who may or may not have enabled who to do what would just get in the way of the powerful image of neighbors standing together as one. The community feels united and the NRA doesn’t feel like everyone is out to get them, so it’s a win-win.
4. Call your representatives and urge them to think about violence in America in a general sense: Taking action honors the fallen just as much as any memorial service. In the wake of Las Vegas, that means calling your representatives in Congress and asking them to spend some time thinking about violence in America, generally speaking, without focusing particularly on any one type. Asking for specific legislation risks coming off as tasteless toward the NRA, which is no doubt having a pretty rough day today, so stick to just encouraging some reflection in sweeping terms.
5. Buy a gun to prevent similar attacks from ever happening on American soil: The best way to respect the memory of the victims is to prevent the next Las Vegas before it happens. Buying one or even several guns to stop a shooter in his tracks is the only way to do so that’s not a total slap in the NRA’s face. Together we can put a stop to these senseless tragedies while staying true to our values.