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I think not…

Posted: October 5, 2017 4:30 p.m.
Updated: October 6, 2017 1:00 a.m.

Most of us awoke Monday morning to the horrific news coming out of Las Vegas of a lone gunman killing 59 people at a country music concert Sunday night. The incredibly sad and tragic event continues to dominate our conversations and the news. How could it not? If it hasn’t affected you directly, surely it has indirectly, moving anyone with a heartbeat in a deeply emotional way. We have heard story after story of people dying in their loved one’s arms; friends saving friends as they ran for cover from the spray of bullets; strangers driving as many wounded strangers they could fit in their car or truck to hospitals.

I overheard a conversation between two people in the checkout line at the grocery store speaking about the tragedy and how it was becoming too difficult for them to watch. Of course, we can thank the cell phone video and social media for giving us a front row seat to the forever shattering of these 59 lives, those of their families, and the absolute trauma the survivors lived through. We cannot fathom their pain, nor can we imagine their loss. We will turn off the television, shut down the computer, power off our phones perhaps to avoid feeling the immense sadness that accompanies this tragic day, the worst mass shooting in our country’s history. But we will stand up; we will pray for peace to overcome the anguish; we will reach in to our pockets to help where there is a need. We will because we are Americans. And contrary to popular belief as of late, when darkness enters, Americans join together, stand united, and find the light again.

As Americans, we have always shown strength and unity in the hardest of times. Three days after this tragedy, incredible stories of heroism are emerging. Perfect strangers were literally risking their own lives to save others. Hundreds of people waited in blocks-long lines to donate blood for the wounded. Residents and visitors alike showed up at hospitals bringing food for the victims’ families. First responders ran towards the sound of hundreds of raining bullets rather than away. This is what we do; Americans are resilient.

If we could only step back for a minute to listen, to hear and to look at the big picture especially in moments of crisis, do we not think we could figure out ways to become even more unified in the country? Did we not see unity emerge in the aftermath of the recent hurricanes? Yes we did. And now we see the same in Las Vegas. Do we think for a minute that before a stranger tied a tourniquet on another stranger’s leg, he asked them for whom they voted? I think not. Do we think the stranger who carried a woman with a bullet in her stomach to safety first asked her what religion was she? I think not. Do we think the policeman who shielded bullets from a concertgoer first asked them for which football team they pulled? I think not.

Granted, any reasonable American would agree we have issues in our country that need our attention. But knowing, in times of great human tragedy and suffering, we do stand united more than we think. Perhaps stepping back and seeing this larger view and working our very hardest to see, to listen, to hear, to understand the other side or opinion may be our road to an even deeper alliance in our United States.

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