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EDITORIAL: Let Las Vegas massacre unify us, so the country heals

By: The Gazette editorial board
October 3, 2017 Updated: October 3, 2017 at 5:47 pm
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Mourners attend a candlelight vigil in Las Vegas for the victims of Sunday night's mass shooting, Oct. 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Let us hope our country just hit bottom and is ready to heal. Hope the Sunday night massacre in Las Vegas is not a harbinger of more madness ahead. For those who died, let this serve as the crisis that inspires us to heal.

Our country has never have been more divided since the Civil War of the 1860s. People who used to live in peace have taken to skewering each other, minute by minute, on social media. Politics has gone from a rhetorical art to a vengeful practice of personal destruction of opponents. Impeach him. Lock her up. Blame the left; blame the right.

The privilege of peaceable assembly has become the perceived right to violently protest, with destructive acts against persons and property.

Freedom of religion and speech are consistently threatened and abused.

The country's flag, which has unified us since the Civil War, has become a symbol of division and the subject of broken friendships.

Meanwhile, misfortune has collided with all mass socio-political dysfunction to create a perfect storm.

As we fight among each other over politics, religion and allocation of resources and rights, we struggle to recover from three major hurricanes that destroyed more property and lives in a month than all natural disasters combined for the past decade.

As government and charities stretch limited disaster relief resources, a maniac killed at least 59 people and injured at least 527. The death toll is almost certain to rise, given the serious condition of dozens of survivors. It is the worst shooting in the country's modern history.

None of the hurricanes cared about our political differences. They did not care about race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political affiliation.

By all early accounts, the Las Vegas shooter cared no more than the storms. He had no strong political convictions. He was not outwardly religious and had expressed no grievances to family, neighbors or friend

Like the hurricanes, the lunatic killed without prejudice. Through hundreds of yards of darkness, he sprayed bullets indiscriminately into a crowd that contained men, women, gays, Republicans, Democrats and people from nearly all races and religions. The bullets killed and maimed as if we were all the same.

An hour before shots rang out, the diverse crowd of country music fans looked like a family. They locked arms, held candles in the air and sang "God Bless America."

At a time like this, we are the same. We are equally vulnerable to forces of destruction more powerful than our intellects, flesh or socially assigned identities.

In the wake of tragedies we could not have imagined, Americans have the common bond of valuing life. Our aspirations for peace, prosperity and happiness should dwarf our differences over health care policy, religious liberty, taxes, immigration enforcement, and who controls Congress and the White House.

As bodies remained on the ground early Monday, we saw efforts to politicize the massacre. One bombast said "gun-toting" country music fans had it coming. Politicians have blamed the NRA. We heard a witness on TV blame "sanctuary city" policies of Las Vegas. Critics said police should have ended the shooting sooner.

Just stop with the hurtful works. No rational American wanted this tragedy. No cops took their time. No liberal or conservative supported a policy with sinister intent for negative outcomes. The vast majority of Americans are peaceful. They do not hate. They want what's best for their families, communities and the country.

Honor those killed in the past month's carnage by respecting human life. All human life. Restore civility. Love without prejudice, just as violent forces kill without it.

The Gazette editorial board

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