A feeling too familiar — As mass shootings continue to occur, compassion is key in creating a unified front


Phones across America flashed with updates regarding a horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas, Sunday night.

For just a split second, as everyone simultaneously clicked on that report, people around the country and the world found an unexpected piece of news, but not something entirely shocking.

Concealed on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, a shooter fired down with an assault rifle on thousands of people gathered at a music festival.

Monday’s first news reports show at least 59 deaths and 515 injuries. Those numbers are expected to fluctuate while hospitals and officials continue to sort through the remaining chaos.

The shooting took place at the Route 91 Harvest Country music festival, where an estimated 22,000 people were in attendance according to a National Public Radio article.

The New York Times, among many other news platforms, is calling this shooting the deadliest mass shooting in American history.

Countless news sources have attempted to examine the shooter’s motives. None have found citable, concrete evidence.

But, in a time like this, the general public should not be concerned with circulating rumors about the shooter’s motives and should instead respond with compassion for those affected. Now, kindheartedness is more important than ever.

It seems similar situations have increasingly become more prevalent — so much so, the New York Times has compiled a running list of U.S. mass shootings dating back to 2007. This list has been updated more frequently than ever before.

Because of this repetition, our reactions are highly susceptible to becoming mechanic — see the report, feel the sadness, lump the situation with all the other shootings and wait for the next horrendous news story.

In The Argonaut’s first edition of the school year, our editorial touched on the violence and death that rose out of riots in Charlottesville. Barely two weeks ago, The Argonaut editorial discussed a school shooting in Spokane that also resulted in death. Yet, the semester has not yet even reached its halfway point.

Many across America, have thought deeply about the correct response to these kinds of situations, individually and as a collective whole. The answer is not an easy one, and no single answer is correct. But, in a society where the potential to become jaded to these occurrences is more likely than ever, a general compassion might be the only providable answer.

Sometimes the best thing we can do is contribute hope and kindness.

In this politically-charged climate, the only immediate response should be compassion. This was displayed Monday morning, as hundreds of Nevada residents lined up outside of health centers throughout Las Vegas — some waiting five or more hours — to donate blood for victims of the attack. This value can be carried out in the small day-to-day attitudes demonstrated all over the country.

It may be easy to pivot the conversation toward the legality of guns and the legality of their control — controversial topics that have sparked debate and led to impassioned pleas from both proponents and opponents. It is incredibly easy to blame those in places of power for these repeat instances. These options, although necessary, are not what the victims need most now.

This is not to say we, as a nation, should stray from the political topics of gun control, gun safety and mental health. Sometimes, however, we must first put on a strong front. And, no matter one’s political leanings, we can all agree a strong and compassionate front is the one side worth taking.

Hailey Stewart can be reached at arg-opinion@uidaho.edu

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