On October 1st, in Las Vegas, the largest mass shooting in U.S. history took place. Before the dust even settled, the politics started, ranging from some hateful words uttered by a lawyer at CBS, to immediate calls for gun control. There was also the mass media’s obsession with the why.
But, I don’t think that’s the most important story here. In a horrific shooting where 58 innocent people were ruthlessly killed and over 500 were injured, the accounts of the beautiful side of humanity are seemingly endless.
There is story after story of people risking their own lives to save others. There was a teenage girl who was shot in the leg and could not run. A stranger hoisted her over his shoulder and ran with her. He put her in a cab and she was taken to the hospital.
There was a firefighter from Seattle who went back into the crossfire over and over to lead people to safety. There was an IT guy who helped people over a fence and then directed people to triage for hours. He said he didn’t know how he did it. He had no training, but adrenaline took over, or was it something else?
There was a retired Marine who stole a truck to drive two loads of people to the hospital. There were also countless civilians who took bleeding strangers in their personal vehicles to the hospital. They just simply stopped and opened their doors.
There was a man in the Army Reserve who passed by an injured man lying in the back of a truck with a tourniquet on his leg. It was in the wrong place. He adjusted it and saved his life. Another man, when asked by a stranger, literally gave the shirt off of his back to be used as a wound dressing.
Then there were those who gave their own lives to save their loved ones. Many used their bodies as shields.
The next morning, when the sun came up, the citizens of Las Vegas stood in lines all over town to give their own blood for the victims who were complete strangers. One line stretched for blocks. Then there were the donated supplies, money, bottled water and blankets, so much so, that they stopped taking donations.
The firefighter from Seattle said the words that I have been unable to forget, “We all became one that night. I got to see one person at their worst, but I got to see humanity at its best.”
This is a tragedy that America will never forget. I pray that we also never forget the stories of ordinary people who became heroes at a moment’s notice when faced with the unthinkable.
They remind me of the people who have always made our country great. They remind me of who we are all called to be. They remind me of what unity looks like. They give me hope. They make me proud to be an American.
Perhaps you needed reminding too.
Have an awesome day!