“Las Vegas, I am so sorry.”
Flowers are placed near the scene of a mass shooting at a music festival near the Mandalay Bay resort and casino, top left, on the Las Vegas Strip, Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
You wake up to the alarm clock buzzing in your ear, roll over, hit snooze.
You hear it again, louder this time, roll over, hit snooze.
The third time isn’t the alarm clock. You roll over as notifications from Twitter, AP News and text messages fill your lock screen, one after the other.
You read the latest alert from AP, “…officials estimate 406 people were transported to hospitals and 50 are dead…”
Sunday night in Las Vegas, Nevada, a sniper fired into the crowd of a country music concert from his hotel room on the 32nd floor. I will not name the gunman in the spirit of honoring the lives lost rather than fueling his desired fame. However, I will say that as of right now, as I write these words, 58 people have died, making it the “deadliest shooting in modern US history”, with nine more deaths than the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando last summer.
While the Islamic State claims the attack, and the FBI says the ties were non-existent between the two, I’d like to remind you that this isn’t what’s important. Islamic State or not, this act of terror has shaken our country in just under 24 hours, just as it has every time. But I’ll say it again: this isn’t what’s important.
What’s important now is that we, as a community, as a country, as a nation of people and heart, come together like never before. It’s time, as it has been for so long, to stand up in the wake of violence and say “no more”.
Where do we draw the line, America? When do we look up from our hiding place and stare down the gaze of the lion? When will we learn to end hate before it even begins?
Las Vegas, City of Lights,
I am so sorry. May you shine brightest today in the wake of this sadness. May you hold one another up and continue to remember those who once stood alongside you. We will remember, too.
Thank you, for the lives you saved, and the ones you did your best to save. Thank you for enduring the danger and fighting for your people. You are forever true.
Please do not use the grief of Las Vegas as your platform. Please do not stand on the fallen to raise yourself higher. Now more than ever, America needs you. Fight for us. Fight for your country. Put yourself in the trenches. Protect your people as you swore to do. Defend your nation.
But do not fight violence with violence. Don’t put up walls or bans. Don’t sit in your office and make statements with no action behind them. Go to Las Vegas. Go where they need you. Be what they need you to be. A true leader.
America, Land of the Free, the Brave, hold your loved ones close. Tell them you need them. Remind them of their importance to you and others. Hold yourself close, too.
It’s okay to not feel brave today. It’s okay to be upset, outraged, to tweet and to post and to scream. Do so with kindness. Do so with good intent. Do not hold anger or hatred.
Take care of yourself. Take care of each other. Take from this what you can, and leave the rest behind.