For the most part, I’ve stayed quiet on the Vegas Massacre (still difficult to see) these past few days. I had to take some time to process it, evaluate it, digest it and accept it. It’s still surreal and I can tell I still haven’t accepted it and probably won’t for some time. Those who know me know I’ve never been fond of living in Vegas but you know what…this is my home, this is where I was raised, this city made me who I am and I’m proud of that. I can’t explain the pain in my heart to see my city suffer, to know that we are now on the list of many in the world to experience tragedy that can only be compared to Hell. My heart breaks for friends I know that were there on October 1st…I’m thankful they were all safe but now their lives are changed forever. My soul is anguished at the very thought of those who were lost, those who loved those who were taken and how their lives are forever scarred. How could human do this to human?
I’ve suffered a lot of tragedy…I’ve lost more than 10 people that I’ve loved over the last 12 years. My best friend was killed by a drunk driver, I’ve had friends die in car accidents, my cousin accidently took his own life at age 12 and family passing on from various diseases. I saw my dad suffer for 7 months before passing and I watched him deteriorate in the hospital with each passing day. I know pain, I know torment and I know loss. The pain never leaves you, you never “get over” it, you’ll always carry anger and sorrow when you think of the moments that were taken from you with that special person. But I’m here to tell you there is hope. You learn to accept reality for what it is and with that acceptance you learn to live life in your new normal. I know the feeling of wanting your life to stop…whether ending it, wanting to freeze it so you don’t have to move forward or just wanting the pain to cease. You can’t let the pain dominate your soul. Take the time to mourn, don’t rush it – it is important to healing but do not let it stop your life. Living is for those of us who are still alive and we cannot stop living because someone we loved so much has passed on. We cannot stop because of suffering we’ve been forced to endure. We cannot stop because evil knocked us down. You cannot let someone else have that power and control over your life – the act that they committed was theirs, they own it – you don’t. Don’t carry it around like a burden on your shoulders. Nothing is your fault, there are no what ifs and there is no if onlys. The responsibility in a situation like this falls on the evil that committed it. I can’t even call that evil human. Human means loving, caring, reaching out, protecting, helping, compassion, nurturing – after all, these things are what separate us from the animals of the earth, the ability to care and feel. What this evil did is barbaric, selfish and immoral. I’m not pretending to know the level of suffering those who were there that night or those who lost someone that night are feeling today. I don’t and I hope that I never will. But we are all American, we are all brothers and we are all human and what was committed against 1 has been committed against all. This is a disgusting cycle that needs to stop. We’ve all become so immune to it that it’s sickening.
The sad thing is most of us who live in Las Vegas knew it would happen someday. It was just a matter of time but it’s something you can’t ever be prepared for. It’s still shocking, paralyzing and painful to know what has happened in our community. One of the hardest things to accept is it was a guy from our own backyard. Americans are turning on Americans. This monster STOLE parents from kids, he robbed spouses from growing old together and he’s forcing parents to bury their children and for what? For what?! Not that it ever truly makes sense but what the hell was this man’s point? It pains me to recognize that something has been happening in our society the past few years. I’m not going to get political I’m just stating the facts…we’ve had guns and mass amounts of ammo around for decades and have never had mass shootings like we have had in recent years. Why? What has changed in the fabric of our morale as a country? As a people? Since when has this become an acceptable and a sensible way to deal with anger, frustration, hate – whatever poison you carry in your heart?
The pointing of fingers needs to stop….why does it take something like this to unite us? Why does it take such a horrific nightmare to remind us of our American values, of who we are and that above all we are all human? Don’t get me wrong, I understand that there are some crazy people out there who don’t see humanity as they should. Overall though, look at your neighbor and community. For the most part we are all normal. Do you think those heroes on the ground that night were thinking who was White, Black, Asian or Mexican before assisting them? Do you think they cared what someone’s gender was or if they were gay or not? Hell no. They saw humans. They saw life and they were full of courage. The segregating and isolating of each other because of opinions has to stop. I may disagree with you when it comes to gun control but I just might agree with you on social rights…we all don’t have the same perspective or views and we seem to forget that that’s okay. My best friend of 15 years and I see absolutely everything from opposite views. We agree on almost nothing but I’ve never loved a friend more than her. I don’t label her by her views, I label her by her heart and intentions. We let the media toy with our emotions and get us riled up to turn on each other without respecting each other. It shouldn’t take something like this for us to remember who we are. Within hours there are tweets about “more gun regulations” or “don’t touch my guns, I support the NRA”…ENOUGH! Where is the compassion and humanity? That can be addressed later. Officers were still trying to assist those in need, ID people, find people and organize the chaos all while these people sat comfortably behind their phones and tweeted their opinions. People’s lives were being changed forever at that very moment!
In every dark, dismal situation there is always an outpouring of good and kindness to follow and it will outshine the horror that was forced upon innocence every time. I’ve seen communities gather around after times of pain on television before. Orlando pulled together in the most amazing of ways after the Pulse Nightclub shooting, Boston came back with relentless strength after the Boston Marathon tragedy and Newtown, Connecticut had an overflowing amount of love and support after the catastrophe that took the lives of the most innocent of us all. All of these were incredible to view on television and couldn’t help but bring a tear to my eye as I watched a community unite with the love and compassion that we all should carry around everyday. To see it in person here in Vegas is an entirely different level. Not to say it’s any better than any other town because love is love no matter where it’s at and it’s a force to be reckoned with. What I mean is to witness it first hand is nothing short of amazing. I wasn’t going to mention it but I find it appropriate to say…the day after the massacre we went out and bought 400 bottles of water and two of our local Dominos were kind enough to donate almost 30 pizzas for us to take down to the area where our local officers, volunteers and responders were organizing. When we arrived at the Las Vegas Convention Center South Hall to drop everything off we were absolutely blown away at the amount of people volunteering to organize the convention center for those looking for information on loved ones, for the amount of officers working more than their normal 12 hour days – noticeably tired but still doing what they could for the city they love and at the amount of donations that were already piled in by 1:00 p.m. This community is amazing. One evil act was met with unyielding great love and support. This cowardly act of darkness was blown away by a shining light of love. I’ve seen Vegas come together over the years over a lot of things…supporting one another in hardship but this, this was special. Doctors and nurses working beyond normal hours without any downtime to help those in need. People lined up at blood banks for blocks and blocks to donate their blood. Rallying around our leaders, the victims and their families. The support and love is so real that the streets of Vegas have felt different these past few days. I no longer see my Facebook and Twitter feeds filled up with comments of division but with comments of harmony and support.
I pray for those who have been lost, I pray for their families and their futures. I pray for those injured and effected by Sunday night’s catastrophe. I pray for the doctors, nurses, officers, medical techs, firefighters and all the other unnoticed heroes and all of their families. I’m thankful for my city and for just about the first time ever I’m proud to call Vegas my home.
If you would like to help out the victims of the Las Vegas Massacre please follow this link set up by Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak. The funds raised will go directly to those in need. https://www.gofundme.com/dr2ks2-las-vegas-victims-fund