“There are no greater treasures than the highest human qualities such as compassion, courage and hope. Not even tragic accidents or disaster can destroy such treasures of the heart.”
I honestly can’t wrap my head around it. Violence seems to have become the norm in so many ways around the world. From school shootings to terrorist attacks at home and abroad, it has been overwhelming and extremely disheartening.
Yesterday, as my 16-year old, daughter Lia got into my car at the end of the school day, she asked, “Mom, did you hear about what happened in Las Vegas?” I looked at her sadly not wanting to discuss yet another mass killing with my daughter. Lia proceeded to tell me that she rushed to text a friend who lives in Las Vegas as soon as she heard the news. “My friend is OK,” she said with a sigh of relief.
“I don’t get it, Mom,” she said. “Why would someone do that?” Unfortunately, I had no answers for my daughter and I still don’t. It sickens me to have such grim conversations with my children. As a young girl growing up in the 80’s, I honestly don’t remember ever having such chats with my mother. Don’t get me wrong. Bad things happened then, too, of course. But it just seems like they are happening far more often today.
At least 59 people were killed with over 500 injured, some critically, when a gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas on Sunday night. It is being deemed the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history.
Both the injured and the dead represent people from all walks of life. From police officers to teachers and adults to teenagers; the bullets did not discriminate. An arsenal of firearms, including automatic weapons, were found in the killer’s (64-year old, former accountant Stephen Paddock) hotel room. As of this writing, law enforcement officials can find no clear motive for such a horrendous crime.
As I said, I just can’t wrap my head around it nor do I have an answer for my daughter Lia. But there is one thing I do know and that is love and compassion will always prevail in the face of evil. If you look at any of the recent terrorist attacks or shootings at home and abroad you will find the heroes. You will find the compassionate souls who risked their lives to help complete strangers.
Sunday’s shooting was no different. My eyes filled with tears today as I read the many brave accounts. I read about the mom who used her body to shield her daughter and the many who drove the injured to the hospital in their personal vehicles. I heard about the young girl who once out of harm’s way decided to turn back into the violence. When asked why, she explained that she wanted to help the victims.
Then there was also a bartender named Heather who held a stranger in her arms as he died. She then remained with his body not wanting to leave him alone. If you look at the many pictures posted online, you’ll see numerous shirtless individuals who used their clothing as tourniquets to help the injured.
Many of these heroes were among those who lost their lives. If it weren’t for the selfless acts of so many caring strangers, countless lives would not have been spared. President Trump summed it up well when he said, “Our unity cannot be shattered by evil. Our bonds cannot be broken by violence. And though we feel such great anger at the senseless murder of our fellow citizens, it is our love that defines us today—and always will, forever.”
Very true. It is love and the countless acts of compassion that define us. In the face of terror and evil, we are no longer strangers. We are one; our hearts forever united. In the midst of tragedy, the goodness of humanity stands unshaken.
This blog is dedicated to all the victims of Sunday’s attack. A special heart-felt thank you goes out to all the unsung heroes. It is this love and compassion that will forever define us. Again, thank you from the bottom of my heart.