President Obama tears up addressing the nation early today. Photo by Charles Dharapak

There’s no sugarcoating that what happened today in Newtown, Conn. is an unimaginable and unspeakable tragedy. White House spokesman Jay Carney can say that today isn’t the day to talk about gun control all he wants, we’re using the day to remember a much wiser thing Kurt Vonnegut said about guns:

That there are such devices as firearms, as easy to operate as cigarette lighters and as cheap as toasters, capable at anybody’s whim of killing Father or Fats [Waller] or Abraham Lincoln or John Lennon or Martin Luther King, Jr., or a woman pushing a baby carriage, should be proof enough for anybody that, to quote the old science fiction writer Kilgore Trout, “being alive is a crock of shit.”

If you agree, consider giving some money, time or attention to the following local and national gun control groups.

The Brady Campaign: Named after Ronald Reagan’s assistant who was shot and nearly killed by John Hinckley, this group scored a major victory in the 90s with the federal assault weapons ban. Help the cause by donating here.

New Yorkers Against Gun Violence: Formed by grieving mothers in the wake of a Prospect Park shooting in 1993, NYAGV has grown from a Brooklyn-based organization to one with branches in 27 counties around the state. Despite the fact that New York has strict gun laws already, we can’t take it for granted. NYAGV also lobbies at the federal level for gun control. You can donate to them here.

Everytown for Gun Safety: Formerly Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Everytown for Gun Safety is now a coalition made up of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and survivors of America’s many gun violence incidents. Together, they lobby for gun control legislation on a local and federal level, as well as provide a support network for gun violence survivors.

The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence: Is this the most reasonably-named group in the history of American politics? Possibly, yes. The CSV is an umbrella organization of 48 national groups that seek to free the nation from gun violence through policy advocacy, research and strategic engagement. You can donate to them here.

Violence Policy Center: Even the NRA is a little afraid of these guys, branding them “the most effective, and most untruthful anti-gun rabble-rouser in Washington.” VPC has worked on campaigns from the Brady Bill to taking a stand against concealed carry permitting, filling Washington with reports on the dangers of unregulated gun ownership, challenging the NRA head-on and being a nuisance for anyone looking to make the Second Amendment into a license to carry any and every weapon under the sun. You can help them out with a donation here.

Americans for Responsible Solutions: Started by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in the wake of her own brush with death after being shot, ARS is focused on “commonsense” solutions to America’s widespread gun violence issue. Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly call themselves Second Amendment supporters, but are also committed to lobbying for expanded background checks, stiffer gun trafficking penalties and funding studies and research on the causes of gun violence. Donate to help with that here.

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