The real lights of Vegas must shine on

Those tales of poise, sacrifice, and compassion after the Oct. 1 shooting are a necessary antidote. Americans must not mirror the evil motives behind mass violence.

Yasmina Chavez/Las Vegas Sun via AP
Volunteers help unload water brought by the Las Vegas community for the people taking refuge inside the Thomas & Mack Center following the Oct. 2 mass shooting.

When the final history of the Las Vegas mass killing is written, it will not be complete without a mass retelling of how people responded during the carnage:

Of how strangers helped strangers escape the sniper’s bullets. Of how concertgoers fell on others to shield them. Of how Nevada’s first responders quickly found the shooter and rescued hundreds. And of how Americans prayed and found unity as they mourned the dozens lost and sought to comfort the families.

The reason such tales are important is that they reflect the very qualities – such as poise, sacrifice, and compassion – needed to help prevent another mass killing. Shooters like Stephen Paddock generally act out of anger, fear, or hopelessness, even though on the surface they may seem suicidal or driven by ideology. Many of them seek to evoke in others the dark emotions they feel. Yet the rest of society cannot mirror the deeper angst of a killer. The more a tragedy’s inspiring acts of love and courage are highlighted, the easier it would be for people to influence troubled individuals prone to violence.

A cycle of hate or fear must be broken quickly. Within 12 hours of the Las Vegas killings, for example, government officials were expressing public gratitude for the hundreds of volunteers, police, health workers, and others who saved lives and acted without hesitation. Even as officials spoke of collective solutions such as tighter gun laws or better protection for public events, they sought to reinforce the qualities that can counter the evil behind such violence.

Or as President Trump told the nation in a TV address: “[I]t is our love that defines us today. And always will. Forever.” His words were similar to those of President Barack Obama after another mass killing here in the United States: “Scripture teaches us, ‘God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.’ ”

As Americans discuss what new measures might prevent another mass shooting, they should recall the traits of character displayed during the night of Oct. 1. What happened in Las Vegas in response to the killings should not stay in Las Vegas.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to The real lights of Vegas must shine on
Read this article in
https://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/the-monitors-view/2017/1002/The-real-lights-of-Vegas-must-shine-on
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today
https://www.csmonitor.com/subscribe