These words ring strong and true as Las Vegas heals from the most deadly shooting attack in U.S. history. The fifty-eight people killed as a result of the mass shooting on October 1, 2017 at the Harvest 91 Festival was a reminder that there is evil among us. The response by concert-goers, first responders, emergency departments, surgeons, trauma care specialists and the community at large demonstrates the love that is #VegasStrong is stronger than evil.
Many people see and experience a neon blink of Las Vegas as tourists for the entertainment, or as visitors of friends and families; it is often difficult to describe to those who do not live here, what the “it” is, which makes Las Vegas and all of Nevada a very special place. We are once again, reminded that Nevada was and is BattleBorn, as displayed in the photograph of the ArmyWestPoint Football team carrying NVs colors onto the field in before defeating Rice on 10/7.
Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak initiated a GoFundMe effort after the massacre, which, as of this writing has raised over $11.2 million from over 87,000 contributors worldwide. Congresswoman Dina Titus, who represents NV District 1 where the attack took place, stated:
“My heart aches for the victims, their loved ones, and our community. I am grateful for law enforcement’s swift response and the many good Samaritans whose selfless acts of bravery showcased Las Vegas’ values to the world. We are a resilient and benevolent town that will not be intimidated by acts of violence. During this difficult time, my office will be working closely with local, state, and federal partners to provide support for Southern Nevada as we heal and move forward.” – Rep. Dina Titus (NV01)
For a place where “community” is often viewed as absent, at least compared to what “communities” were like in the places that people came from before moving to Las Vegas, it has been an impressive coming together. This tragedy immediately turned a 2.4 million population of people, many who came from somewhere else; into neighbors (actually global neighbors as so many in attendance were from abroad).
What may be even more impressive and relevant to the readers of Veterans Reporter News was the leadership and action executed by members of the Veteran Service community. It would be impossible to name all of the organizations that leapt into action, and to try would risk omitting those deserving mention. From providing donated items to those who reported to various blood drives to providing peer support to victims and first responders, Veteran leaders within the community did what Veterans do: lead from the front at the decisive points to affect positive outcomes.
Veterans Reporter News does not seek to repeat or re-print the news reported via other media outlets; suffice it to say, that there has been frustration experienced thus far with changes to timelines, and, as of this writing, still questions unanswered concerning a motive for the attack. PATIENCE. Some national media outlets have commented that the investigation, thus far, is bizarre. All things considered, this investigation is not all that bizarre; one can’t believe the media analysis from outsiders. The investigation would likely be much different if there was a search for outstanding suspects. One must acknowledge the potentially competing interests involved, to include: the Nevada Gaming Control Board; MGM Resorts, International; law enforcement (local, state and federal); unions; insurance companies; and the victims. Human nature demands a discovery and understanding of that which may be incomprehensible. There are many legitimate reasons for the withholding of information until it is subpoenaed given the pending civil litigation.
Without question, the performance of our First Responders was magnificent. The marriage between police and fire departments for emergency response to mass casualty events should be the model for the country
Perhaps most poignant and relevant to the Veteran community is the reminder that our community can lead in the areas of Preparedness, Resilience and Vigilance.
Reflections on LTC (Ret.) Dave Grossman’s “On Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs” from On Combat:
This is because most citizens are kind, decent people who are not capable of hurting each other, except by accident or under extreme provocation. They are sheep.
I mean nothing negative by calling them sheep. To me it is like the pretty, blue robin’s egg. Inside it is soft and gooey but someday it will grow into something wonderful. But the egg cannot survive without its hard blue shell. Police officers, soldiers and other warriors are like that shell, and someday the civilization they protect will grow into something wonderful. For now, though, they need warriors to protect them from the predators.
“Then there are the wolves,” the old war veteran said, “and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy.” Do you believe there are wolves out there who will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial.
“Then there are sheepdogs,” he went on, “and I’m a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf.” Or, as a sign in one California law enforcement agency put it, “We intimidate those who intimidate others.
One immediate reflection upon learning of the heroic efforts of both first responders and citizen festival attendees, was that we collectively experienced the almost immediate metamorphosis from sheep to sheepdog for so many in attendance. There were countless stories of individuals shielding/covering loved ones to protect them from harm. Veterans within our community can and will continue to be the sheepdogs that they are, as they lead all of our fellow citizens in increasing vigilance and situational awareness to be more prepared to recognize threats and thwart future violence.