The lights must shine on

Adapted from an article published in The Christian Science Monitor, October 2, 2017.

When the final history of October’s mass killing in Las Vegas 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. Stories like this aren’t limited to the Las Vegas shooting, either.

The reason such tales are important is that they reflect the very qualities—such as poise, sacrifice, and compassion—needed to help prevent other mass killings. 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 can be for people to influence troubled individuals prone to violence.

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'To Bless All Mankind'
‘Thoughts and prayers’: beyond cliché to effective response
January 29, 2018

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