the one thing i want for my birthday by Krystal Bick February 19, 2018 I’d like to start today’s post with a disclaimer and a note for context. First, the disclaimer. Today’s post is a serious subject. One that may seem polarizing for many people. And one that I recognize isn’t necessarily the reason why you come to this site in the first place. I’d like to underscore the fact that my intentions are never to alienate or isolate anyone for what they believe in — and even if we disagree, I think there’s plenty of opportunity in that disagreement to open up discussion and dialogue for change that we all can get behind. Next, a note for context. Today is my 32nd birthday. And while I had every intention to post my originally scheduled content (a round up of 32 things I’ve learned thus far, which will be postponed to next Monday), last Wednesday’s events in Florida have shaken me in a way that it no longer felt appropriate to NOT say anything on this platform of mine, with so many like-minded amazing women (and men) who I consider more as friends, than “followers.” Today, we’re going to talk about gun violence. I can already hear the “Stay in your lane” comments now. And I get that. I’m not an expert in public policy, nor do I completely understand the ins and outs of gun legislation and how it’s influenced — but you know what? I’d like to understand it more. And perhaps you do, too? And perhaps you don’t — either way, we’ll be back to regular programming tomorrow, complete with outfit posts, hair tutorials and Fashion Week roundups. In the meantime, I sincerely hope you’ll hear me out and discuss and even debate things with me. OK, housekeeping items out of the way now? I hope so. Let’s dive in. Like many of you perhaps, I remember exactly where I was when the Columbine shooting happened back in 1999. I was in the 8th grade at Pine Middle School, sitting in Ms. Dulgar’s afternoon science class. Unlike 8th graders today, I didn’t have a cell phone or any social media to speak of, so I imagine news broke the old fashioned way: word of mouth. I remember sitting there, ready to take notes about cell division, only to see Ms. Dulgar sitting at the front of our classroom, crying. We then turned our TV on to watch the coverage. As a 13 year old student that day, I felt scared and confused, but also confident that surely, something so horrible, so heinous, so awful couldn’t happen again. Right? Now, as a 32 year old, still reeling from Florida’s events (and Vegas and countless others), I just Googled the question of “how many school shootings have happened since Columbine.” You want to know what number came up? 207. Now 208 with Parkland. 208. Today’s post isn’t to paint what you can already see is a pretty grim picture. You don’t need me to spell it for you. So I won’t. But there was something I read over this weekend, while I was debating over whether or not to even write this post, that stuck with me, and eventually convinced me to. My dear friend Keiko posted the following sentiment: “Imagine if influencers spent as much time talking about gun control as they have talked about the algorithm.” Ooph. She has a point. As someone who’s dedicated entire posts to “influencing the algorithm in your favor,” and has seen many of her peers do the same with their content and time, I can’t help but see the whopping disparity here. If an influencer can convince you to go through the trouble of unfollowing, then following them again, then liking a bunch of their recent photos, then finally leaving a bunch of comments in hopes they’ll “show up more in your feed” then surely we can talk about this. And debate this. Maybe even act on some of this together. At this point, I’d like to add a bit of further context. I firmly believe this isn’t necessarily a political debate. This isn’t about conservative vs. liberal values. As a reminder, I grew up in a very conservative state, in a relatively conservative town, with plenty of family members and friends who I love dearly, who are responsible gun owners. They knew how to use their gun safely and used the best reloading press to reduce the likelihood of an accident. Some people are extremely careless with their guns though. I think you can be a gun owner and still believe in stricter, more accountable legislation — nothing about this has to be mutually exclusive. Therein lies what I think damages this debate too often: that being it’s framed as one or the other — that stricter gun control some how equates to a tyrannical overthrow of the second amendment. And I simply refuse to see if that way. The best analogy, as I’m sure many of you have already read at this point, is comparing this to automobile accidents and fatalities since the 1970s. By studying the causes and factors for these accidents, a number of measures were taken, including mandatory airbags in cars, enforced seat belt laws, stricter sentencing for DUI infractions and implementation of consistent speed limits. Did they fix the problem entirely? No. But it reduced fatalities significantly. We didn’t have to remove cars or ban people from driving them. We simply studied what was contributing to the problem and systematically came up with solutions. Bottom line: We need more legislators, on both sides of the aisle mind you, that have the backbone to push past NRA and other lobbying groups agendas and financing, to see to it that we can study this problem and pragmatically come up with the steps necessary to CURB gun violence. Required and enforced background checks for ALL gun sales in ALL states would be a start. I’ll wrap up this very long, rambling essay now, with the one thing I really want for my birthday. It’s not something from Net-A-Porter. And it’s not a fancy dinner somewhere. It’s for each of you, (whoever is still reading at this point), to talk about this issue. With your friends, with your family. Even if it’s uncomfortable. Even if means you don’t see eye to eye with everyone. And if you feel so inclined, to talk to your representatives. How? Well, I’m glad you asked. I’ve recently started following the group Moms Demand Action and Everytown (both great resources for gun violence stats), and they’ve outlined some easy steps to get involved and take action, including calling your representatives. Simply follow the steps outlined here — it’s easy and takes less than 5 minutes. They even give you a script to help put your thoughts into words. Again, I hope I didn’t make anyone feel singled out or targeted. I will always strive to make this a safe place for conversation and healthy debate — and yes, while we don’t often tackle these types of issues here on This Time Tomorrow, I like to think many of you, in addition to fashion and travel, are also hungry for ways to impact your community and push forward causes and ideas. As always, I’d love to hear from you — let’s chat in the comments below! Or feel free to send me an email.