Mental Health

My heart weighs heavy with thoughts of the terrible mass killing in Las Vegas this week. I’m still working on my 49 Random Acts of Kindness in honor of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shootings.

As always, the media and social media are quick to blame gun laws, asking for stricter rules and changes to the Constitution. It may not be a popular opinion, but I honestly think the issue is not about the number of guns the man owned. Did he need 42 firearms? I don’t think it matters. Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols used a rented truck and fertilizer-based bombs to kill 168. More and more we hear about people driving cars into crowds. Heck, September 11th was accomplished with box cutters. My point is that if someone wants to kill, they will find a way.

Yes, I know that access to guns may allow a person to kill more people, but the real issue, in my opinion, is mental health. We don’t do nearly enough in this country to help identify mental health issues and then to take care of them. I’m not talking about lock them away in some institution, but really help. There is still such a stigma around mental health issues that I think people are afraid to seek help. And I think that we are terrible at identifying them until it’s too late. We always hear “they were so nice” or “we never saw it coming”.

I don’t have an easy answer. I’m afraid that by focusing on taking away guns, we won’t focus on the real issue – what it is inside a person that allows them to think “I am going to kill people today”. I just know that all killers have one thing in common – something that is not a weapon. They have some sort of mental issue. And until we take care of that, I’m afraid we’re going to continue to see killings like those in Las Vegas.

 

RAK #16: Amanda Alvear

This is the sixteenth of 49 random acts of kindness (RAKs) that I’m doing to honor the victims of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting. Hopefully each small act puts a little bit of happiness back out in the world!

I may have gone a little overboard on this one. Our church does something called the Giving Tree – you take a tag with someone’s name and wishes and buy them gifts. I chose a nine year old little boy named Malachai. I had so much fun shopping for the things he needed (some clothes) as well as a lot of games (what he wanted). I hope he has a wonderful Christmas!

This RAK is in honor of Amanda Alvear. She could have made it out of the club, but went back for her friend Mercedes (who also died). She worked as a pharmacy technician and was in school for nursing. She was known as a joyous and loving person. Rest in peace, Amanda.

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RAK #15: Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez

This is the fifteenth of 49 random acts of kindness (RAKs) that I’m doing to honor the victims of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting. Hopefully each small act puts a little bit of happiness back out in the world!

I had done my normal Sunday morning grocery shopping and was heading over to get gas when I noticed a homeless man near the grocery store. I popped back in, grabbed a gift card, and handed it to him as I left.

This RAK is in honor of Franky “Jimmy” Dejesus Velazquez. The oldest of the victims, he was known as someone who loved being with people and always helping them. Rest in peace, Jimmy.

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RAK #14: Jean Carlos Mendez Perez

This is the fourteenth of 49 random acts of kindness (RAKs) that I’m doing to honor the victims of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting. Hopefully each small act puts a little bit of happiness back out in the world!

This RAK is near and dear to my heart – I support several horse rescue organizations (one via Amazon Smile, which donates a portion of every order to my charity). HiCaliber Horse Rescue is one I learned about from my friend Erin. They are located in San Diego and do some amazing work – every week they attend auctions in which horses that are not purchased are shipped for slaughter. Many of these horses are terrified, abused, and in horrifying condition. Some are what they call “compassion pulls” – horses so sick or injured that they must be euthanized – HiCaliber takes these horses and shows them love in their last days. Others are rehabilitated and adopted out. It’s a truly amazing program and I encourage you to read up and donate if you are moved!

This RAK is in honro of Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, who died with his boyfriend inside Pulse nightclub. He was a popular salesman at a local perfume outlet store and was described as a warm, funny man. Rest in peace, Jean.

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RAK #13: Anthony Luis Laureano Disla

This is the thirteenth of 49 random acts of kindness (RAKs) that I’m doing to honor the victims of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting. Hopefully each small act puts a little bit of happiness back out in the world!

I know it’s been a while, but I’m back on the RAK bandwagon. The RAKs 9-13 are all the same thing, but to five different people. I de-stashed some of my planner stickers and posted to a Facebook group that I belong to that I would be giving them away – the one catch was that people had to comment on my post and share a random act of kindness they had done. The response was amazing – there really are great people out there doing great things!

RAK #13 is in honor of Anthony Luis Laureano Disla, who had loved to dance since he was a young boy. He was pursuing a career as a dancer and choreographer. Rest in peace, Anthony.

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RAK #12: Alejandro Barrios Martinez

This is the twelfth of 49 random acts of kindness (RAKs) that I’m doing to honor the victims of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting. Hopefully each small act puts a little bit of happiness back out in the world!

I know it’s been a while, but I’m back on the RAK bandwagon. The RAKs 9-13 are all the same thing, but to five different people. I de-stashed some of my planner stickers and posted to a Facebook group that I belong to that I would be giving them away – the one catch was that people had to comment on my post and share a random act of kindness they had done. The response was amazing – there really are great people out there doing great things!

RAK #12 is in honor of Alejandro Barrios Martinez. Alejandro was from Cuba and was one of the youngest victims of the attack at just 21 years old. He was known as happy and fun loving. Rest in peace, Alejandro.

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RAK #11: Deonka Deidra Drayton

This is the eleventh of 49 random acts of kindness (RAKs) that I’m doing to honor the victims of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting. Hopefully each small act puts a little bit of happiness back out in the world!

I know it’s been a while, but I’m back on the RAK bandwagon. The RAKs 9-13 are all the same thing, but to five different people. I de-stashed some of my planner stickers and posted to a Facebook group that I belong to that I would be giving them away – the one catch was that people had to comment on my post and share a random act of kindness they had done. The response was amazing – there really are great people out there doing great things!

Deonka had suffered tragedy before – she was ejected from her family vehicle in an accident and had a traumatic brain injury when she was a child. She was working at the club the night of the shooting. Rest in peace, Deonka.

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