Las Vegas- Tragedy Hits Close to Home

 

A little after 10 pm on Sunday, October the 1st, the city of Las Vegas Nevada was added to the sorrowful list of locations where horrific mass shootings had taken place when a madman with automatic weapons opened fire on a crowd of music fans enjoying a concert on the Las Vegas strip.

Fifty-eight people were killed, and approximately 480 were wounded.

This happened less than five miles from where I live.

Las Vegas is my home.

With the shootings in other cities, I mourned with the rest of the country.  Glued to the television for news, watching for updates, holding the victims and their families in my heart and thoughts. But though I grieved there was a separation.  Those horrors didn’t happen in my town, I didn’t visit the memorials, didn’t see the scene, didn’t personally know anyone touched by the tragedy.

Las Vegas is my home.

Though we’ve just recently moved here, the city has been “home away from home” for 37 years.    I’ve often said I know more people here than anywhere else I’ve lived.

Las Vegas is unique in that it hosts over forty-two million visitors a year.   Many of those attending the concert were tourists, here just for the concert and many of those killed or injured were from out of town.  But Las Vegas is so much more than a vacation destination showcasing “The Strip,” glitzy shows, and gambling.   This is a vibrant city full of everyday people.  People from all walks of life, who go to work each day, attend their kids sporting and school events and who are involved in their community.

Las Vegas is home.

As I walked out of the bedroom on Monday morning, Dave pointed to the television where the images and sounds of the horror played.

At that moment, I understood what the people who call Orlando, Blacksburg, and Newtown know.   When something this horrific happens so close to home, to people you may know, something inside clicks and the tragedy gets even more real.

We checked in, as planned, to our favorite hotel on the Las Vegas strip later that morning.  It was important to go.   I needed to know that the friends I’ve made there in the last thirty-seven years were ok.   To my relief, my friends are fine, but they each have their own story; Stories of hearing the shots from their home near the strip, of friends who had attended the event, of a daughters boyfriend who was shot but survived.

So many emotions filled the air and showed on the faces of both locals and visitors to the city.  I saw and felt their shock, anger, horror, and fear.    The question “how could something like this happen” was asked again and again.

There was a heavy police presence outside each property but for the first time the question “what if?” was lodged in my mind.   Looking up at the reflective glass windows of the tall hotel buildings my mind was filled with questions and fear.

I had to stop and remind myself not to allow fear to win.

Each person I spoke with, especially my local friends,expressed the hope and intention not to allow this horror to change how they view this city or live their lives.  They have jobs to do, life to lead.  Could something like this happen again?   Of course.  Should we stop living our lives and hide?  No.  We can’t let fear win.

I will not allow the actions of one deranged man to change how I view my life and my city.

Las Vegas is my home.

My heart is broken for all those people and their families.   My heart is broken for my city.   I’m filled with respect for the first responders and all of those everyday people who helped and continue to help.

Las Vegas is strong.   Las Vegas is home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One Response to Las Vegas- Tragedy Hits Close to Home

  1. Our heart are with Vegas and the victims and families left mourning. I asked a friend of mine from Vegas if she was okay–meaning was she physically okay. I knew there was no way she’d ever be okay, even if she wasn’t at the concert. Nobody is okay after dealing with such a senseless, horrible tragedy. Thoughts and prayers to a city full of strong survivors and loving, caring heroes.

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