“What do you say? Because only in America can you survive a mass shooting and go and make a friend who is the victim of a mass shooting and then go to meet that friend for lunch … and end up in the middle of another mass shooting event.” Ashbey Beasley
It’s another fairly typical spring day in America.
Grass greening. Irises unfurling. Songbirds announcing the season with fanfare….
And emergency vehicles racing to the scene of yet another school shooting.
Yesterday’s school shooting at a private Christian elementary school in Nashville was the 128th (or 130th – I’ve seen both metrics) mass shooting of 2023.
“There have been more mass shootings than days in 2023.”
These events – bloodied up elementary schools – are rote, now.
Typical. There’s a rhythm and cadence and order to them, like some morbid dance.
The gaggle of news reporters assembled outside, taking tallies, body counts, stories, images. “How old was the…” “What do we know about the…” “Was security…”
There’s a question about doors and security officers and you can feel the mood – searching, wanting, wishing for someone to blame. Something to make it make sense. Was a side door open? Ah. That’s the problem.
Anything, anything, anything … except focusing on the weapons of war shouldered by the shooter and lack of leadership that’s led us to this moment.
Reporters peppered those now-rote mass-casualty questions into the robin’s-egg blue sky. Birds, oblivious, chirped in the background.
Finally, heads down, the officials walked away from the microphones. Reporters started packing up, making notes. Cameras turned away.
Covering just another mass casualty. Just another Monday in March.
But then something different happened.
A woman stepped into the breach.
Sunglasses perched atop her head, she strode up to the tangle of microphones.
The reporters who were busily gathering their gear looked up.
“Aren’t you guys tired of covering this?” She asked – almost demanded – of them.
“Aren’t you guys tired of being here and having to cover these mass shootings?”
Someone cut the sound to the mic. She continued to speak anyway.
One reporter looked around, and couldn’t quite hide his look. Was it dismay? Disdain?
Or maybe a look of How … dare she?
Some enterprising reporter figured out that this woman – Ashbey Beasley – was now an actual story in her own right, and turned the mic back on.
Which is how we know that Ashbey and her young son survived the Highland Park shooting in July only to come on a family vacation in Nashville and be caught in the middle of yet another mass shooting event.
That’s a lot of trauma for one person to be part of in the span of a year.
She would be forgiven for just cutting her trip shot and taking a beat.
But she didn’t. Instead, she walked into the fray and stepped up to the microphone.
You know? I don’t know Ashbey but I like her a whole heck of a lot.
Last week I told you about Judy Heumann – a woman who was not afraid to make a fuss for herself or for others. When we hear about people like Judy it’s easy to wonder how or what we could do to be so consequential.
What could we do with our lives that could make such a difference? How could we make that happen?
It’s as simple as it is hard: take advantage of the moments you’re given.
Ashbey did. She found herself in the midst of the coverage of another mass shooting. She didn’t cower. She stood up and took the darn mic and the moment she was given … and used it.
Not everyone is going to be presented a gaggle of national reporters to educate about gun reform. That’s not the point. The point is that every day we’re given opportunities to reach out, to stretch, to do something. People like Judy Heumann and Ashbey take those chances with both hands and try to take advantage of them.
You can do that, too.
A while back I saw a tweet or a comment that Europeans have lost their sympathy for Americans with regard to gun violence. They reasoned if we wanted to do something about it, we would.
That’s sad. But I can’t disagree with their assessment.
We have one political party that is propping up fascists and protecting AR-15s, and another that is so bloated with vulture capital fundraising consultants that my inbox gets hundreds – literally hundreds – of requests for $5 from Democrats every day.
Another day after yet another horrible school shooting that could have been prevented with common sense reforms – simple reforms like banning weapons of war – and the one thing I can be 100% sure about is that I’ll get a $5 donation request from an organization that has nothing to do with gun reform or electing Democrats to offices where they could actually make change.
We’ve said it before: we can’t keep going on like this.
But then … we keep going on like this.
It’s like Groundhog Day, but worse. In Groundhog Day, most folks don’t know they’re reliving the same darn day.
The only one who does actually does take the opportunity to actually … change.
Are we taking that opportunity?
When will we?
Alright friends. Hug your loved ones close.
Let’s get to work.
Actions for the Week of March 28, 2023
Get Involved in Gun Reform
If you’re on twitter, show how much you appreciate seeing people step up to the mic (literally) and give Ashbey a follow: https://twitter.com/CampBeasleywood
You likely already know about Moms Demand Action and their network of volunteers. (You can find a local chapter here: https://momsdemandaction.org/about/chapters/) The Missouri chapter just had its advocacy day – and every year it helps to push back bad legislation. If you’re looking for a way to plug into an organization that’s really getting in front of lawmakers and having a real impact, find your local and state chapter of Moms Demand.
But the Newton Action Alliance is another allied group. You can register for Newtown Action Alliance’s upcoming Lunch & Lobbies – all next week. Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMtc-2opz4rGdJGkpTcSeGk8VGOGn0lvFyg
And please check out the toolkit provided by the Newtown Action Alliance, which is packed with good info: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Cfjnkr-kutIls2kwpx_xvyk6TugJAmL2B_i_Jg_Q7oY/edit
But here’s the bottom line: without local pressure, gun laws won’t change. We need people like you to call your state legislators – and to find, fund, and support people to fight against Republican state legislators who are often so gerrymandered that they lack any accountability.
If you’ve been around here for long, you know that my heart is in finding and supporting the folks who will run against the extremists that too often go uncontested. You can see more about that work in Ohio (https://blueohio.org) Missouri (https://bluemissouri.org) Texas (https://bluetexas.org).
Today, Join Simon Rosenberg!
Tues, March 28th, 1pm ET – Simon Rosenberg’s Monthly Political Briefing and Discussion With Special Guest Ben Wikler. (H/T Jessica Craven)
Really excited that Ben Wikler, the dynamic Chair of the Wisconsin Democratic Party, will be joining our monthly political discussion to provide an update on the all-important April 4th Supreme Court election there. I’ll kick it off with some opening remarks and Ben joins us at 130pm ET.
RSVP here. https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_HN9lW2qbRZqZcJrjah3zSg?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email
SUBOXONE COMMENT PERIOD ENDS IN A Few DAYS – SUBMIT YOUR COMMENT!
We talked about this last week, but if you have not yet submitted your comment, this is the most important action this week! A few weeks ago I described a new DEA regulation that has the potential to create a public health disaster and kill a lot of people.
The new regulation rolls back flexibilities that were put in place to permit providers to prescribe controlled substances via telehealth during the pandemic. The problem is that the regulation rolls back the flexibility provided for medications that – while controlled substances – are literally the gold standard in treating opioid use disorder.
Health care providers have been able to prescribe Suboxone (Buprenorphine), one of those gold standard medications, via telehealth since COVID. Suboxone isn’t prescribed for pain, to relieve anxiety, or to treat ADHD; it’s prescribed for people who are trying to get clean from opioids.
It works. “Buprenorphine has been shown to lower opioid-related mortality improve treatment retention, and generally improve patient outcomes“.
The COVID flexibilities have opened up treatment for a whole segment of the population that otherwise has lacked access, whether because of transportation, insurance, the lack of providers – you name it. Many people have benefited. Particularly people living in rural areas that already lack access to healthcare.
But … these new regulations would add a significant road block: it would require an in-person visit within 30 days of a health care provider prescribing Suboxone to someone suffering from opioid use disorder.
Currently there are telehealth providers who are able to manage the HUGE amount of people who need access to this medication (which many primary care physicians don’t understand or don’t want to prescribe) and are able to do so safely with required drug screens and virtual follow up appointments.
With this new requirement, people would still be able to utilize those providers – but would then have to (somehow) get an in-person visit with someone somewhere who is willing and able to provide them with a refill.
Imagine finally deciding to get clean, getting yourself set up on a medication that will blunt your cravings for heroin, and then learning that now you have to – within 30 days – find/get a provider and get an appointment?
This requirement will kill people.
And to add insult to injury, the additional 30-day-in-person requirement provides no benefit. Because all of the prescribers already require drug tests and screening, the additional hurdle of an in-person visit is just that. A hurdle. Except this one will kill people.
The comment period is open for this regulation – but just for the next few days– and I encourage you to not only comment – but to share the need to do so with others.
This article from MedNews Today lays out very succinctly the problem with this new requirement: https://www.medpagetoday.com/opinion/second-opinions/103524?xid=nl_secondopinion_2023-03-14&eun=g2016242d0r
But the comments that have already been written by providers and patients are enlightening as well and I encourage you to read some of them. https://www.regulations.gov/document/DEA-2023-0028-0001/comment?postedDateFrom=2023-03-14&postedDateTo=2023-03-14
Again, the comment period ends this week. So please, take some time today to comment!
When commenting, there are some things you can do to make your comment more helpful to the DEA – and more persuasive.
- Explain the reasoning behind your position (don’t just say “don’t adopt this rule”) so that they can understand your opinion and use it to craft the best policy.
- Identify credentials and experience that may distinguish your comments. If you are commenting in an area in which you have relevant personal/professional experience, say so! So if you live in a rural area where it takes longer than 30 days to get a primary care appointment – or the closest MD is 30 miles away and there’s no public transportation, etc. – that’s information that is pertinent and important for the DEA to address.
- Provide personal examples if you can and if it’s appropriate.
- You can choose to comment anonymously or with your name.
Here’s where you can comment: https://www.regulations.gov/commenton/DEA-2023-0028-0001
If I give you a draft comment, it can get batched with others – and its value diminished. So please write your own comment (it can be short!). Here’s a structure to follow if it helps:
- First, explain who you are and if you have any specific experience with Suboxone or drug addiction (whether personally or loved ones).
- Second, describe why you think adding this requirement is a bad idea for people in your own community. Do you live in a rural area? Is there transportation or lack thereof? How long does it normally take to get a MD appointment? Are there sufficient providers in your community?
- Third, describe what message adding this requirement sends to people who are trying to get clean – or sends to your community. How does this requirement show the administration is handling the opioid crisis?
I hope that helps you organize your thoughts. But again – this can be a quick comment, and you can review some of the other 2.5k comments that have already been made.
WHEW! GO, YOU!
If you’d like to sign up to get this pep talk and action list in your in-box each week, you can do that here. Welcome, friend!
Thank you for reading. Thank you for writing. I read and respond to every e-mail. (Really! I really do!) We’re in this together. Don’t you forget it.
P.S.: If you want to help support this work you can do so via Patreon at
https://www.patreon.com/smalldeedsdone or via paypal at https://www.paypal.me/smalldeeds
My deepest gratitude in advance.
P.P.S: Why don’t you make someone’s day and send this pep talk to a friend or two? I bet they need it.