#PrayforVegas & Then What?

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The shooting that took place last night on October 1, in Vegas from Mandalay Bay, is now deemed the Worst Mass Shooting in Modern American History. Shots were fired into a crowd of more than 22,000 people, killing 59+, and injuring over 515 people who gathered for a country musical event where the main focus was supposed to be about drinks, food, laughs, family and friends uniting, forgetting about the world while enjoying music surrounded by the sights of Las Vegas. And then hours later, a senseless act of violence occurred at the Route 91 Harvest Festival during Jason Aldean’s performance last night, that has left people all over the word with heavy hearts, immeasurable pain and massive confusion.

Fear, anger, frustration, political stances from gun control, and mental health screenings and the question of who to blame began to bubble over the internet and television screens. Some angry for idealizing the shooter/(s) for fear of copycat killers, the legal views touching on everything from the NRA making silencers easier to get, according to Hillary Clinton’s tweet earlier today, while conservative beliefs to liberal thoughts began to spread rapidly and emotionally. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram postings from celebrities began to fill your feed, what Trump did or didn’t say resonated in your already traumatized, whirling, disheartening thoughts. Why? What was killers motive? Even the shooters own brother could not answer this question and the world is at a loss words and left questioning everything.

Which makes us question, where should we stand? What should we do? Pray harder? Love more? Take away guns completely? Make it harder for men and women to purchase a limited amount of guns? Put our personal information out there for everyone to know and judge to see if we are deemed fit to purchase? Or shall we continue to let Americans have their freedom like they’ve always had? Allow these mass shootings to take over? Say, “Well… Our constitution says,…” or, “how are we to know that one individual with no criminal record or mental health background could perform such a horrific, deadly, maliciously violent act? No one could stop a person like that even if they tried”

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I may not have the answers, but what I do know, is that we must stand together, we must allow ourselves to feel these emotions, feel angry, feel deeply mournful, disgusted, confused, frustrated, outraged, and put these mixed emotions into something more than just, “Thoughts and prayers.” We must not lose hope, and we have to come up with a solution that may take months, years, or centuries to implement, but we need to start somewhere, and we have to come together in these dark times that make absolutely no sense and unite together now.

We are living in the United States of America. Where is the freedom if we are scared to live in a world of constant fear that our schools may be unsafe, our movie theaters, night clubs, churches, department stores, baseball games, universities could be in danger or places of light and celebration are no longer a safe haven? That is not living free.

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“Beyond the scores of people who have been killed and the hundreds who have been wounded in Las Vegas today, thousands of other people, though not visibly or directly injured, have had their lives changed forever. Children and parents. Husbands and wives. Brothers and sisters. Something is instantly and permanently gone from their lives. Co-workers and friends. Members of churches or sports leagues or the PTA. Customers and clients and students. Neighbors and casual acquaintances at the coffee shop or the bar. The rest of their days will be different and shadowed because of this massacre. “Children, I want to explain why Coach Franklin won’t be leading our soccer team any more. Something bad happened, and …”The dead and the wounded, and their family and friends, of course deserve most support and sympathy. But their fellow countrymen should reflect on two dark truths the episode underscores. I was going to end that sentence with “reveals,” but that’s not right: We know these things already.The first is that America will not stop these shootings. They will go on. We all know that, which makes the immediate wave of grief even worse. Five years ago, after what was the horrific mass shooting of that moment, I wrote an item called “The Certainty of More Shootings.” It was about the massacre in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and after acknowledging the victims it said:

The additional sad, horrifying, and appalling point is the shared American knowledge that, beyond any doubt, this will happen again, and that it will happen in America many, many times before it occurs anywhere else. That remains true now. I expect it to be true five years from now. I am an optimist about most aspects of America’s resilience and adaptability, but not about reversing America’s implicit decision to let these killings go on.”

Read more here from the Atlantic“Two Dark American Truths from Las Vegas”


Why is it that no other society has continued to let this happen? When I lived in Sydney, Australia, or when I traveled across Europe for several weeks last year, it was the number one thing people would mention (besides the presidential election) “How about those shootings in America? Do you feel unsafe?” It’s an embarrassing truth in regards to our American identity. And I am tired of holding my head down in shame. I want to be proud to be an American again.

This morning I was left feeling physically sick when reading posts that put my family and friends in grave danger. Reporting that they are safe on Facebook, or that their brother got shot in the back and leg protecting his girlfriend, but that he is going to be okay. This is reality right now, and I genuinely wish it never had to be a situation in the first place. So now that we’re here, what are we going to do? Now is the time to write to your congressional representatives to ask for common senses gun control laws, or educate yourself on the mental health system in America, or perhaps pay closer attention to those around you and extend a hand, even if it feels awkward and uncomfortable to do so. You may not feel like your voice will have a major impact, but if we continue to live with that mind frame, how far can we possibly get for change to occur? Write, donate, research, speak up, and discuss. No matter how much we can help, big or small, now is the time.

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To educate yourself on all of the mass shootings that have occurred here in America since 2007, read this article from the New York Times to comprehend what is truly happening, and what is happening far too often.


Right now, if you are close and willing to help, here are some addresses and numbers to donate blood. And don’t forget, near or far, your blood can always be transported, over 515 people were injured and there is a tremendous need for donations in Vegas.
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It’s been 3 weeks since my husband and I went to visit family in Vegas on our road trip to Texas. Reading posts about friends & family members personally connected with the mass shooting last night made it not only difficult, but imperative to share my voice with links on how to donate, articles to educate, & to ultimately not lose hope. Let’s us unite, and come together through these unfathomable times & together find a way to change America’s current identity #prayforvegas

Most importantly, thank you to all of the police officers who were called to duty and risked their lives to save others, the nurses and doctors for taking care of the injured in Las Vegas, and the concert goers that risked their lives to save their loved ones and strangers nearby. You are all truly heroes.

Please share, spread love and unite, when it’s so easy to point the finger. Let’s find preventative ways to help stop this malicious trend. The shootings have to stop, and we must not lose hope.

xx

B

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