Resisting Gun Violence
Resistbot is proud to #MarchForOurLives
On March 24th as many as 500,000 people, led by the incredible students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, will descend upon Washington, DC in the March For Our Lives rally. Resistbot is proud to be there with them. Issues, politics, and partisanship aside, seeing a bunch of young people engaging in civic activism warms the cockles of Resistbot’s multithreaded, 4.3 Ghz heart.
Here’s what we’re doing to help
First and foremost, of course, Resistbot is there to help Americans all over the country connect with their government. In just a few moments — be it from the Lincoln Memorial or the Golden Gate Bridge — you can tap out a letter to all three of your representatives on Capitol Hill and tell them exactly how you think the issue of gun violence should be addressed. For a mobile generation this is a political game changer. Users can even share to make their letters to their officials open letters. More than 10,000 have been shared so far since the feature launched in January.
In total — both open and closed — Resistbot has dispatched over 90,000 messages to Congress from impassioned users on the subject of guns and gun violence. Those messages represent the real wishes of real constituents — thoughts and prayers made manifest on a national scale.
More Than Letters
Some of those letters are truly special. Ava Vargo, a 12-year old from Berea, Ohio wrote a heart-wrenching plea to her Senators and House Representative in which she confesses her fear for her own life and that of her high-school aged sisters. Kids like Ava are going to change the world someday but, in the meantime, we’re excited to help her speak truth to power.
Ava’s was one of more than 100 letters on the subject of guns and gun violence which Resistbot has helped users republish, since the events in Parkland, Florida, in local papers as letters to the editor. You can read Ava’s letter in the Cleveland Plain Dealer and, once you have, you should check out Representative Marcy Kaptur’s response on her Facebook page.
More Than Money
Of course, we all know that there is more to U.S. politics than votes and letters. Money also talks. In the wake of the Parkland shootings, Resistbot launched its first integration with OpenSecrets, an online repository of campaign finance data. Users can send NRA to Resistbot and get back an accounting of every dime the National Rifle Association has spent for and against their sitting Representatives and Senators.
Users hit the NRA feature more than 246,000 times and blasted out thousands of tweets calling for their Representatives and Senators to return or donate the funds provided to them by the National Rifle Association.
Resistbot can’t get money out of politics (yet) but if sunlight is the best disinfectant, it can certainly open a few windows.
More Than Votes
If you’re curious what that NRA money buys, you can also send GUNS to Resistbot to learn about what sorts of bills your Representative and Senators have sponsored and cosponsored. The GUNS keyword uses data from the Congressional Research Service to help users hold politicians accountable for the money they take in and the promises they make.
More Than Words
If there is a common theme to all of this, it’s education. Like a gun, Resistbot is a tool and, to that end, it is a tool that can be used for good or for ill. The volunteers who code, staff, and maintain Resistbot firmly believe that an educated, engaged electorate is one of the greatest forces for good a representative democracy can hope to possess and so we have done everything we can to make it easier for Americans to contact their government and to help them be better informed when they do. In keeping with that mission, the Resistbot policy blog has worked to push accessible, informative content on complex policy issues before Congress.
The March 24th #MarchForOurLives event is not just in Washington, DC. It is a nation-wide protest event which seeks to draw attention to the problem of gun violence and to demand that our government take that problem seriously. If you’re passionate about #MarchForOurLives and want to join the march, send MARCH to Resistbot and the robot will help you find a march near you. If you care about gun violence, gun safety, 2nd Amendment rights, gun control, mental health, safe schools, concealed carry, or any of the dozen or so other issues that surround firearms in American Politics, send RESIST to 50409 or contact Resistbot on Facebook Messenger, Telegram, or Twitter. Resistbot will deliver your messages and, when primary season starts up, it will help make sure you get to the polls.