October 2017 — We mourn the death of (at this writing) 59 individuals who were killed in Las Vegas last night by a single man using highly efficient and effective arms, from a distance. It has been the largest mass murder by a single shooter in American history.
Our hearts also go out to the more than 500 people who were injured in the shooting or in the fleeing of thousands, to the thousands traumatized by witnessing the carnage and by their own vulnerability, to the many families and friends shattered by the loss of loved ones, to all who have been shaken deeply by the news of the slaughter. And we are grateful for the courage and compassion of the many who put themselves at risk to save others.
For now we have no explanation for the killer’s motivations–and indeed, no explanation can return the dead to the living, can undo the wounds to the injured, can repair what has been ripped apart.
What we can do, as we recover from shock and dismay, is to take stock of our own engagement with a world inhabited by people who kill, a world where the means of mass destruction are so easily available, a world of vulnerable beings who can so easily and without warning become victims of violence. What will we commit ourselves to do to resist violence and brutality?
As a first reaction, we can look for ways that we can increase the presence of compassion and work to end all kinds of violence, in our individual lives and in the wider world. We can look into the eyes of our friends and family, find ways to connect, remember to say to loved ones what we mean to each other. We can look for social and political solutions that reduce violence, make it harder to obtain and use weapons that kill so many so easily, and make it easier to find peaceful, effective solutions to both individual and social problems.