The last few days have been difficult to digest - the devastating tragedy in Las Vegas has left most of us in a state of bewilderment, confused how something like this could even happen. As of today, I've heard 59 people are dead and over 500 injured. Beyond that, thousands who were in attendance are suffering from immense emotional pain and people everywhere are struggling to process what even happened.
I was awake at 10:08pm on Sunday, when the shooting began. I read a quick headline and strolled through twitter, and then instagram. It was horrifying. There were live videos of what was going on and I sat there not wanting to watch, but also couldn't stop. I was overcome with grief and fear, knowing this was bad, really really bad. The videos were haunting and I couldn't even begin to imagine what those people were feeling.
Since then, I've read headline after headline, trying to find out as much as I can about the victims and their stories. I've also been reading about the heroic courage of the law enforcement and medical professionals, running back into the crowd to find the ones injured and get them the help they desperately needed. I've read the stories of concertgoers, using ladders to transport the wounded, putting strangers in their car and taking them to the hospital, holding hands of someone they don't know just so he wouldn't die alone - it breaks my heart, but gives me hope at the same time.
Hope for humanity isn't lost. There are a lot of heroes among us and they shouldn't go unnoticed. In John 15:13 (ESV), Jesus said "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends." We are given one commandment in the New Testament, and that is to love one another. It takes the cake.
In a world where chaos and confusion seem to overwhelm the news, where the headlines hit us like a ton of bricks, where we can convince ourselves nowhere is safe and we need to stay in our bubbles - we can't forget that heroism doesn't allow fear to win.
If we are commanded to love one another, that means it's possible.
I hope to find the balance of not overly politicizing tragedy, while ensuring I'm doing everything I can as a citizen to find out the facts and learn my role in preventing this from happening again. I'm still unsure of how this all looks and I'm sure I've already failed, but that won't stop me from trying to learn and do better.
Beyond that I hope to remember we are a community of individuals who, at the end of the day, have the potential to be real-time heroes and come alongside one another amidst the wake of tragedy. The stories of those who risked their lives to save a neighbor leaves me near tears. We should honor the immeasurable courage of every festival attendee, law enforcement, employee, and medic who undoubtedly stood up to the fear looming in front of them. In the same way, I hope to remember and express more gratitude for members of our military who daily dedicate their lives for all of us. Their courage can't go unnoticed.
In the end, fear doesn't win. It can't win. We will honor those who lost their lives from such a senseless act of evil, and we will choose to do better while remembering that