Toms takes a final stand

As of December 2018, more than 320 mass shootings have occurred throughout the United States, the Gun Violence Archive (GVA) reports.

That number is on par with recent years, with over 345 similar incidents happening in 2017 and 2016, respectively, according to GVA officials.

After each shooting, we often hear the phrase, “Enough is enough.” But is it really?

You wouldn’t think so with how quickly the next incident takes place — some even occurring that same day, just in a different city or state.

Despite the protests, it seems this country cares more for a piece of machinery than its own people.

However, one man is determined to change that — Blake Mycoskie.

Mycoskie, founder of the shoe company Toms, announced Nov. 19 on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” his business would be donating $5 million to organizations working tirelessly to end gun violence.

Olivia Heersink | Argonaut

The 12-year-old business — which donates shoes to people in need across the globe — now has a function on its website where users can enter their information and send a physical postcard to their representative, encouraging them to pass universal background check legislation, as well.

“This is something that 90 percent of Americans are in favor of, and you can do it in 30 seconds or less on,” an emotional Mycoskie said on “The Tonight Show,” where Fallon sent the first card. “Someone has to do something about it.”

According to a 2018 Gallup poll, 46 percent of Americans reported they are unhappy with current gun laws and want stricter policies, whereas 39 percent stated they are content with the existing requirements. The remaining 8 percent were also unhappy, but instead desired laxer guidelines.

Toms’ donation is the largest corporate gift aimed at ending gun violence in U.S. history, Mycoskie said. Recipients include Black and Brown Gun Violence Prevention Consortium, Everytown for Gun Safety, Faith in Action, Giffords, Livefree, March for Our Lives and Moms Demand Action.

The campaign circulated around social media shortly after the announcement, garnering attention from several celebrities — such as Mariska Hargitay, Tea Leoni and Ryan Seacrest — and various news outlets, which is how I came across it.

Within seconds, I was on Toms’ website, entering my information and urging my friends to do the same.

Too many lives are lost at the hand of a bullet. How can we even call ourselves a “developed” nation when shootings are occurring almost every or twice a day?

The BBC reports the U.S. currently has the most deaths by shooters in the industrialized world, which encompasses countries such as Canada, England and Australia.

I’m all for people owning guns, but it needs to be the right people — not those with criminal or medical histories suggesting blatant instability. We need to let our representatives know that, and Toms’ campaign is a way to start the conversation.

Let’s not add the current list of causalities by sitting idly by. Let’s put an actual end to gun violence — enough really is enough.

Olivia Heersink can be reached at


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