Las Vegas: A Reflection on Our Broken World
I write to you today with a very heavy heart. I didn’t really know what to post this week until Zoe and I saw the news in Vegas. Its unfathomable to wrap our heads around the pain many people are feeling today. I just wanted to put into perspective how real this was for some people even if it wasn’t too real for you, and how this affected me personally. In addition Ill end with some positive facts from that night.
Many times we can see these tragic events and wipe them aside because they’re too sad and we usually don’t like to stop and think about these things for too long, particularly with shootings or other terror related events in the U.S. (I hope we also don’t forget about he 200+ people who died in an earthquake in Mexico just a few weeks ago and the relief disaster that is Puerto Rico).
For me, I usually do put these tragic events aside because they might not have ever affected me directly. The Vegas incident however, hit closer to home.
I was awake at 11:30pm the night of October 1st when I first saw the news that there was an active shooting incident in Vegas. I decided to pray right then and there because I had a terrible feeling about it. I knew I couldn’t stay awake to follow the news because if I did, I’d be up all night. I woke up the next morning dreading the fact that I had to check my phone. When I finally did, I gasped so loud I woke up my roommate. I was immediately choked up considering that I was at the same stage and hotel last week celebrating my parents 25th wedding anniversary with my entire family…
The past few days I couldn’t stop thinking about if this had happened a few days ago when I was on those very grounds. I couldn’t stop thinking about how I let my younger bother get close to the stage to see an artist he liked while I sat behind because I wasn’t too interested in them. “What if that happened when we were separated and I couldn’t get to him to cover and protect him?” “What if I was separated from him the entire night only to find out he had been hurt?” I would have never been able to forgive myself if this happened
As I continued to go about my day, sad thoughts running wild, I found myself in the rug room at school. Thats when I heard my good friend Shivonne, whom I lead a small group with here on campus, started to sound distraught. My heart immediately broke as it wasn’t hard to guess what had happened. She had lost someone she went to high school with to the shooting.
I don’t know if any of you have lost a loved one recently, but something that can really break your heart is watching someone you love lose someone.
The past few days I have been amazed by how many people here in the small college town of Eugene have been affected. In addition to Shivonne’s friend, my boss’s sister in law was shot in the leg. My friends best friend was there and the two people next to her were killed. Its a small and terrifying world.
I’m just going to end on some positive notes as life goes on. Hopefully you haven’t heard of these stories and they will be encouraging.
1. 100’s of people were lined by at 4am, Monday October 2nd to donate blood to the victims and thousands have donated blood since then.
2. Uber drivers immediately gave free rides to victims as soon as the shooting ended and continued to do so the next day for victims to get back to their hotels or homes.
3. Allegiant airlines is giving free rides to the victims who seek to come home immediately.
4. 3 Million dollars was raised in just 24 hours to support the victims.
I think a few things we can do collectively as a Christian community is to pray and to refuse to let this continue to be a normal thing.
One of my professors I think said it best. We cannot be in Vegas helping people recover, but what we can do is make our world and our community a better place, so how are you doing that?
Do not underestimate the power of prayer. If Ive learned anything in the past fews years and about this event, is that God is the only real thing worthy of living for in this world. In him, we are secured a destiny and eternal life with Him. Therefore do not have to fear death.
May you take to heart the advice my professor gave me and be the brightest light you can be in your community.
Here is a pic my brother took the day we were there. Five days later, 58 people were killed here.