[guest post by Dana]
I received word early this morning from very dear friends that their daughter had called them in the middle of the night while she fled the massive spray of bullets coming from a hotel window in Las Vegas. She screamed to her dad she loved him and that she was afraid she would not make it out alive. He could hear the gunfire behind her cries. She had attended the concert with her husband, brother-in-law and sister. When the shooting started, her brother-in-law was hit and died at the scene. Text messages said that he had a “peaceful look” on his face when he passed.
We went to be with our friends as soon as we heard. Made breakfast, washed dishes, cleaned, helped with grandbabies they had been taking care of while their parents attended the concert and just sat with them trying to be some sort of cushion for the blow. In an instant, the everyday tasks had become things too enormous to contemplate. Our friends are in shock and fluctuating through various levels of disbelief. It will, of course, take time to be able to process this. A whole lot of time. We sat there watching news updates as oodles of texts messages from the surviving family members came in, updates given, and plans to go to bring loved ones home were made.
Here’s what I learned: All of us who have reached mid-life have likely experienced at least one tragedy. We know how deep the wound is when parents pass, the devastation of a collapsing marriage and subsequent pain of a family newly split apart, the shock and fear and hope we move in and out of when a diagnosis of cancer is made, and so on. Some know even more: those who have outlived their children and yet have found a way to get out of bed the next day and the next day after. We unfortunately learn to navigate the unwelcome pull of life’s currents. We must. And with that, we also learn how to utter the hard prayers between tears of sorrow and mountains of grief. These are the cruel corners of life that most of us will find ourselves in at some point or another, in one way or another. But this, this “deadliest mass shooting in America’s history,” is an entirely different animal. This being killed by deranged lunatic at an innocuous event is unfathomable. For me, there is nothing to relate it to, it is an anomaly, it is random, and it is hard to find a place where it belongs in the compartment of tragedies and sorrows we all keep locked up somewhere in the recesses of our hearts. And I’m not even a blood relation, nor was it me who lost a son, a son-in-law, a brother, a father. I am jut a person who is very close to those who did. I am a mere bystander cooking food for dear people being forced to walk through the confusing maze of loss. They are people of faith, so I pray that Hope meets them on the way. I pray that they know in a deeper, richer way that most of us will never know, that God is in this dark tunnel with them. May they be overwhelmed by His comfort. And I pray that my dear friends, and all of the people directly impacted by this destruction, can and will find some measure of comfort through their faith, their families, their friends and their community.
What I learned, too, while sitting with my friends in their stunned shock, is that politicizing this only makes it hurt more. When there is a White House press conference and one reporter after another insists on bringing up gun control – in spite of it having been repeatedly made clear that today is not the day for that – it only makes the hurt worse. My friends’ loved one is now gone from this earth, and he was worth more than a debate about gun control. He will never again kiss his kids and hold his wife. And now she is a widow. Their lives have not been lived to be a political ball to volley over the net of agendas and causes. When politicians tweeted first thing out the gate this morning that we must do more (referring to gun control), my friends believed it a cruel dismissal of the very real lives lost and the very real lives of those left behind struggling to understand. Real people are still trying to wrap their minds around that which must be unreal. “It must be a mistake,” they say over and over. Politicians remain selfishly driven by self-interest, crass journalists remain driven by a salacious greed for a story, and both behave with cruelty as they immediately exploit the pain of others for their own political purposes. Well, just stop it. This is very brutal day. It’s not some moment to use to your advantage and obnoxiously push your way to the front of the line so people will see your ugly mug and hear your sleazy pandering and manipulations. Who do you think you are? Someone noble and relevant? Someone we should listen to? You are low, you are to be loathed, and you are not relevant as you blow noxious gas out from your deceitful lips. You are pitiable in your shame. A shame which you are too blind to see.
This summed up for me the fallen disgrace of mankind in a single nutshell because this is where we’re at, and this ugly, raw pustule on the ass of society is what some have aspired to become. Congratulations. You’ve arrived:
CBS has parted ways with one of the company’s top lawyers after she said she is “not even sympathetic” to victims of the Las Vegas shooting because “country music fans often are Republican,” when discussing the tragic mass shooting that occurred in Las Vegas late Sunday night.
Prayers for all those whose lives have been forever tipped over by the events in Las Vegas.
(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)