By Victor Rivera
I’m glad to say that the greater Las Vegas community has responded to the Route 91 tragedy in a way that made me proud of my hometown. I volunteered on campus at UNLV to help collect supplies for victims and first responders. Everywhere, I was hearing stories of that civic pride like lines of people to donate blood stretched for blocks or that some centers that were collecting supplies were indeed already full.
A shocking event happened, but our community met that incident head on with compassion and our head held high.
What I want to talk about is what came afterwards.
What came was the same thing that happened after the massacres at Sandy Hook, CT, and Aurora, CO – we went back to business as usual. I already know what some of you are thinking: “He is going to say something that will attempt to take away my guns.”
I will not do that, but is doing nothing on gun violence the attitude that we want to take? Is being distracted after these horrific events the way we cope with them? A continual pattern of learned helplessness?
I’m not saying that I have answers to this problem, but becoming quiet again does a disservice to those killed.
Somewhere in our national dialogue, and with a sincere effort, is the resolution we seek. Simply saying we cannot avoid acts of lunacy get us nowhere – especially when the United States seems to be a home to that lunacy more than anywhere else in the world. No, we can’t accept this as the new normal and it definitely is not “the price we have to pay for freedom.”
What I want to leave you with is this: Stay angry. Stay outraged. Do not ever get used to this and accept it for one minute. We as humanity have done the impossible before. One day, we can solve this, too.
Victor Rivera is a U.S. Coast Guard veteran who is now studying communications at UNLV. He lives in Las Vegas.