“Is everyone okay? I’m seeing what’s happening,” I said to my sister over the phone on the night of Sunday, October 1. I stared at my laptop as I watched live coverage of the shooting in Las Vegas. I picked up the phone again and called my friend, “Where are you?” Mentally, I mapped out where everyone I know works based on proximity to the Mandalay Bay, the hotel where the suspected shooter had booked a room. I thought about who I know that likes country music. I talked with my friend about how a few old high school friends went to the concert. My heart breaks. As the night goes on, texts slowly trickle through and social media feeds continue to update as everyone checks in as ‘safe.’ I take a breath. The glitzy, tourist-town is my hometown, but now it has taken on a new light of tragedy and panic.
In the days following the shooting, embers began to reignite as the Las Vegas community pieced itself together through local volunteer work, blood donations with lines that stretched around the block, and heartfelt condolences. It was a strange paradox of seeing humanity at its worst and at its best. It felt as if my community had been hit by a natural disaster, yet there was nothing natural about this. A man wanted to hurt thousands of people quickly, and the ability to do so was unimpeded by the law. The issue of gun regulation is lost in the din of shouts claiming second amendment rights and self-defense. I ask, are these shouts more important than the screams of those lost, the cries of broken families and the yells of those suffering from PTSD?
They say this shooting was the most violent in modern American history, the most horrific. However, as I sat there making those phone calls and reassuring myself that no one I personally knew was murdered, I realized that every shooting was the most horrific for someone. Distance and frequency have numbed us. However, this is not something we can get used to, nor is this out of our control. We have seen our communities come together in the aftermath of such tragic events, so why can’t we join together to stop legislation that allows lenient gun regulation?
—Erika Silva, Staff Writer