Just over a year ago, a Triangle reporter stood beside dozens of Philadelphians mourning the 49 individuals gunned down at the Pulse nightclub shooting. At the time, that was the deadliest mass shooting in the US since 1949.
Oct. 3, that same reporter attended the vigil for the victims of the Oct. 1 shooting in Las Vegas, which, with 59 fatalities, has now surpassed the Pulse tragedy for deadliest mass shooting. Over 500 are reported injured.
We, like so many, are brokenhearted. We are outraged, devastated and appalled. Perhaps the greatest tragedy of all is that we are approaching a point where we are no longer surprised. These earth-shattering events, which should not even occur once in a lifetime, are accelerating dangerously close to once a year.
We don’t have a solution. We hope that there will be one — whether it comes in the form of gun control, mental health awareness, security measures or some combination of the three — but we don’t pretend to know what it is. We pray, for the sake of our families, our friends, and the strangers whose lives we still cherish as human, that it is discovered soon.
In the absence of an answer, here is what we do have, and what little we can do.
Among many other emotions, we are plagued by feelings of helplessness. But thousands of small gestures are not futile. Give blood, if you’re able. Donate what you can. Be generous with empathy.
Take solace in the goodwill that remains despite the horror. Amid gunfire, strangers threw themselves on top of others to serve as protection. One man’s ammunition cannot eliminate the purity of that altruism.
Be the best possible version of yourself, every second of every day, as we are learning how precious those seconds are. Recognize the things you admire in others, like the number of citizen heroes at the Las Vegas shooting, and find ways to emulate those strengths. Be brave, and be loving, to the best that you can.
We hope in earnest that the incident in Las Vegas marks the end of mass shootings, while knowing full well that there will likely be more. As Philadelphia mourns, our reporters will stand alongside them. We will continue to be devastated. And we will continue to hope.