On August 5th, our weekly team meeting sadly began by discussing the weekend’s tragic mass shootings. A few minutes into this sensitive topic, we quickly agreed upon these key responses: We are angry, frustrated, sad, and partially numb to the “normalcy” of mass shootings in America.
There’s an eerie numbness in regards to the subject matter. Common statements associated with mass shooting sound too familiar. “Yeah, I heard (number of people) died” , “So sad, heard the gunman was mentally ill or racist”, “Thoughts & prayers..”, and so on. Ruben Digital is based in the Northwest Suburbs of Illinois, just 25 minutes from Chicago. Unfortunately hearing about gun violence in the news isn’t foreign to our team. We even occasionally experience it right here in Wheeling.
We decided it was necessary to have a raw, open conversation about the latest mass shootings in El Paso and Ohio. Both shootings occurred within a short 18 hour window over the weekend. The loss of innocent life was high, and at the time, so much of the “why” this latest shooting had occurred remained unknown.
Many people immediately decide that gun control is the only solution, while others also consider how mental health and internet censorship play a factor. As a company, Ruben Digital is not interested in taking a political stance on this issue. Instead, we feel that as a digital outlet, it’s our responsibility to be a source of information and educate the community. In this blog we share a variety of ways we can all work together to tackle this problem in America…
There is a considerable division in America surrounding the taboo topic of gun control. It has become a heated conversation. Some feel that even speaking on gun restrictions is clearly invading our constitutional right to bear arms. Others think the laws and screenings for an individual to obtain guns need to be much stricter. And there’s another group who feel the issue is that average (non active military) civilians don’t need to own assault rifles. In fact, twenty five years ago the United States actually did enforce a ban on assault rifles; however now it is expired.
“Assault weapons — military-style firearms designed to fire rapidly — are a threat to our national security, and we should treat them as such,” Biden wrote in his weekend op-ed. “Anyone who pretends there’s nothing we can do is lying — and holding that view should be disqualifying for anyone seeking to lead our country.” Our former Vice President Joe Biden and many other political figures on both sides of the isle are recently calling for stricter gun laws. The NRA on the other hand feels like “guns are not the problem, sick individuals who use them improperly are”.
Ruben Digital has always taken the route of breaking the stigma on mental illness. Never make someone feel ashamed or embarrassed by an illness, disease, or any other condition they may be dealing with. The stigma is what prevents people from taking action and seeking help.
Mental illness clearly plays a part in these shootings, yet our country does not fully embrace the fact that we need more affordable resources available for the mentally ill – group therapy, counseling, medication, etc. Our society needs to work harder at removing the stigma behind mental illness.
Domestic terrorism has now become the number one threat to the United States. When we review the common factors with these home grown terrorists, it’s easy to find patterns and similarities. One of the most blaring facts connecting these individuals is their state of mental instability. These terrorists commonly wrote hateful and racist posts on social media outlets and chat rooms. They also tend to have a criminal history of domestic violence and hate crimes. Basically, there is an established formula for mass shooters. The key is to recognize these individuals and the warning signs before the crime is committed.
Monday morning after the shooting, President Trump addressed our country (watch President’s speech “Hate has no place in America”) denouncing white nationalism and speaking on America’s digital responsibility.
At some level, the internet (to some degree) plays an important role in mass shootings. You may be thinking “That’s ridiculous!” But as a digital community, we must adhere to a certain standard for interacting with others when it comes to managing inappropriate/threatening comments, hateful message boards, and managing the kind of content that is featured on websites & social platforms.
In several mass shootings, the local terrorists were posting regularly on various social platforms and community boards about their plans for violence or spewing their hateful thoughts about specific races, genders, religion, etc. Have you ever scrolled past questionable content – whether an article, comment, or video – and didn’t report it? Are you afraid of the government controlling and monitoring our internet us to such a degree that it may lead to heavy censorship? While reasonable and possible, this fear might also be causing us to turn a blind eye to the potential violence that our freedoms of internet lead to.
Why Are Mass Shootings Still Happening?
What are we actually doing to try to stop it? What’s our part in it as individuals, a community, and a country? This last question sparked a deeper conversation. Our team immediately started tossing around ideas about our digital responsibility as marketers and how we can help spread information to do our “part”. A key to what we feel would make a positive impact is finding local organizations and groups attempting to make change, whether it’s banning assault weapons, regulating internet content, increasing funding in local mental health programs, or making it necessary for schools to teach emotional intelligence starting at a young age, providing mindfulness programs, and more.
We believe it’s important to have many outlets for releasing pain, fear, frustration, and rage. Finding healthy, productive ways to get negativity out of our systems rather than letting it build up and lashing out on others. Many of our team members use physical exercise and mindfulness activities for stress relief, such as meditation, running, mixed martial arts, walking, painting, and yoga.
Making a Difference Starts Here
RD is an active supporter of the local arts and charities through volunteering our time, skills and donations. We have found that giving back and getting involved (whether it’s in the Northwest Suburbs or in Chicago) helps our own attitude towards life as well as making a difference for others. We are proud to work with a wide range of clients that make huge impacts on their local communities as well!
Our team has made it a priority to research various ways we can help our community on both a local and national level. How you can donate to victims & first responders. On an individual level, everyone on our team has personal opinions on how this problem should be handled; but of course no one has the ultimate solution. And once again, our goal with this blog is not to promote political agendas or choose sides, we simply wish to educate others and work towards making this world a safer, more loving place.
We took a look at RD’s client list to see which businesses are directly making a positive impact on individuals and the community.
Check out this list of clients we work with and organizations that are part of the solution to stop mass shootings on a local and national level…
Total Impact MA, Impact Dojo, & Sky Fitness: Healthy release of anger, frustration by physical fitness, punching/kicking, sparring, let go of hate through fitness, yoga classes and more! Offering programs for both adults and children.
Lakeshore Psychotherapy: Work with mental health professionals to diagnose specific disorder/illness, talk about what’s bothering you, treatment plan, etc. Work to not keep everything bottled up.
Pathways to Successful Living: Help individuals let go of false beliefs holding them back, learn emotional intelligence, better communication, work on acceptance of themselves and others. These courses help bring people closer together.
Rootz and Local Park Districts: Rootz offers a variety of programs for children from birth to 18 years old, including dance, theatre, enrichment, music, art, science, fitness and camp. Rootz and your local Park Districts offer a variety of fun and educational activities necessary to help children grow into well-rounded, happy members of society!
CHAMPION NOW®: Change How American Manufacturing’s Perceived In Our Nation. “As a business owner serving the manufacturing community, I believe there is nothing more important than the young people of this country. “ – Terry M. Iverson, founder. Together with the power of the industry supporting us, we will reach the next generation with exciting educational films, presentations, and internships that demonstrate how manufacturing is the foundation of our American economy and offers exhilarating career choices
Get involved with a spiritual or religious community…
- The Bridge Community Church
- ChiTribe: Find events to connect with the Jewish community.
- How to Connect with Spiritual Friends
Mindfulness Activities (reduce stress, anger, fear)…
Volunteering (Spread kindness, help others, or promote a cause)…
- VolunteerMatch.com: We believe everyone should have the chance to make a difference. That’s why we make it easy for good people and good causes to connect. We’ve connected millions of people with a great place to volunteer and helped tens of thousands of organizations better leverage volunteers to create real impact.
- HabitatForHumanity: Habitat for Humanity is a global nonprofit housing organization working in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S. and in approximately 70 countries. Habitat’s vision is of a world where everyone has a decent place to live.
- Streetwise Chicago: Learn about upcoming events in Chicago and West suburbs where you can help in: soup kitchens ,Back to school Drives, donating clothes to the homeless and veterans, How to get involved in local philanthropy
- Neighborhood Cleanup: Find ways to help clean up trash and waste in your local neighborhoods
- River Trails Community Garden: Gardening is a huge stress reliever and most local community garden donate the food they grow to their local food pantries.
- Find a Community Garden Near You
- National Alliance on Mental Illness: Support groups, walking to spread awareness, donating money, fundraising for events, etc.
Giving Love to Animals (reading, playing with animals, walking dogs, adoption events, fundraise at events, cleaning shelter)…
Union League Boys and Girls Clubs: For 100 years, the Union League Boys & Girls Clubs have served the after-school development needs of Chicago’s disadvantaged youth. Today, ULBGC provides programming centered on academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles to nearly 15,000 youth at 11 locations in these challenging communities of Pilsen, Humboldt Park, the Near West Side, Englewood, Bucktown, and South Lawndale in addition to a summer camp.
Maine Township: Youth mentoring and addiction recovery meetings. Maine Township Youth & Family Services is an award-winning department that has been serving the mental health needs of our community for over 40 years. Our mission is to support the growth of healthier families in the Maine Township community by providing affordable strength-based counseling and comprehensive programs focused on prevention, recovery meetings and education.
- State Representative Jonathan Carroll: Jonathan is passionate about making change for a number of key issues: Creating Jobs, Education, Gun Safety, Health, Property Taxes, Seniors, Veterans and Protecting a Woman’s Right to Choose.
- Tracy Jennings: Illinois 7th Congressional District Candidate. Issues include supporting local community programs that affect Veterans, Job Development and Placement, Small Businesses, Youth Groups and Community Wellness.
Moms Demand Action: Moms Demand Action is a grassroots movement of Americans fighting for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence. We pass stronger gun laws and work to close the loopholes that jeopardize the safety of our families. There is a Deerfield, IL chapter of this organization.
Mental Health Resources and Organizations…
- MentalHealth.gov: Support the national dialogue by getting involved and building awareness of mental health problems in your community.
- List of Mental Health Organizations to Support
- SAMHSA-National Depression Help Line: Hotline for people in need of support for mental health and substance abuse.
- Mental Health Support Groups Near You: Website helps you find local support groups for mental wellbeing.
Resources for Veterans…
- VeteransFamiliesUnited.org: Providing access to over 800 valuable resources that every Veteran and their families need to know.
- VeteransAidBenefit.org: The Senior Veterans Service Alliance is a not for profit corporation that supports veteran members and sponsors eldercare related businesses (called listing providers) across the United States. We are not affiliated with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Initiatives in Illinois Against Violence…
- CureViolence.org: Cure Violence Illinois is the Illinois branch of the Cure Violence Organization, which has operated in Chicago, Springfield, Rockford, Cicero, Maywood, North Chicago, Waukegan, and East St.Louis. Currently the program is active in Chicago.
- Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority: Created in 1983, the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority is a state agency dedicated to improving the administration of criminal justice. The Authority brings together key leaders from the justice system and the public to identify critical issues facing the criminal justice system in Illinois, and to propose and evaluate policies, programs, and legislation that address those issues.