This past Sunday evening, our nation was collectively horrified to learn of yet, another mass shooting. This time, the largest in our history, in the city of Las Vegas.
News outlets, social media feeds, and phone lines were immediately jammed with traffic as people began to express their compassion, sorrow, anger, and every emotion in between.
A friend of mine who grew up in Las Vegas (whose entire family still lives there) wrote on my Facebook wall in response to an angry comment someone made when I expressed my own horror about the tragedy.
"Saying that you're sad about something does nothing...
saying how things could and should change to prevent something like this happening again does something. As a person whose entire family lives in Las Vegas, and I'm still waiting to hear from many of them, I am more consoled by Ryan's post thAn all the people just saying, '#prayingforLV'"
I expressed my sorrow and concern for her and her family and asked her to text me when she got some news. Thankfully, a few hours later she had managed to get in touch with everyone and all were okay.
What I found most heartbreaking about all the comments on the thread (over 150 of them) many of them repeat visitors/responders who had read and commented on the thread in its entirety, arguing for both sides of the "gun rights issue," was how my friend's deep concern got completely overlooked.
This is where the real tragedy is-- that we so quickly run toward policy instead of toward people. There she was, surrounded (albeit electronically) by people of passion and principle, and she became invisible once she voiced her opinion because the topic was so (forgive the pun) "loaded."
My prayer is that in the voicing of our anger, frustration, hurt, and bewilderment that we not overlook the very people that policy ought to serve. It's clear that the law is in dire need of reform, but as that discussion/debate makes its way around dinner tables, public forums, and even up into the highest levels of government, let us not forget to see our neighbors right beside us.
If you know of anyone this week whose life has been rocked by this newest tragedy, take some time to shoot them a text, an email, or even give them a call. You don't need to fix anything. You don't need to discuss gun control. You just need to say, "I love you. I'm sorry. How are you feeling about all of this? I am here for you in whatever capacity you need me to be."