Herald-Whig View

Nation should unite around heroes who walked among Las Vegas crowd

Posted: Oct. 4, 2017 10:40 am

AMERICANS will never make sense of the motives behind a madman's shooting rampage Sunday night in Las Vegas. The best we can do is make sure that killers, such as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, don't win.

We should look instead to the heroes who emerged during the attack -- people who showed the kind of bravery and compassion that any one of us would be proud to display in a time of crisis.

Mike McGarry of Philadelphia was one of the terrified survivors who did his best to safeguard those around him. The back of his shirt was marked with footprints from fellow concertgoers trying to flee the gunfire. McGarry's first instinct was to shield his children, rather than run. "They're 20. I'm 53. I lived a good life," McGarry explained.

Likewise, Amy McAslin told how a stranger shielded her and a friend who hid under a table. The man, whose name she didn't know, was wounded but didn't seek medical help until the gunfire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino had ended.

There were countless other heroic examples of our best human instincts.

A nurse and two firefighters were among those who were shot while protecting others. Off-duty police officers stood up amid the barrage of gunfire, directing people on what to do.

There were concertgoers, some trained and some not, plugging bullet holes in those who had fallen with their fingers while they awaited the arrival of first responders. Others worked together to carry the wounded from the carnage.

A nation's prayers and thoughts should be with ordinary folks who set out to attend a country music festival, and through no fault of their own, became targets. At least 59 people did not survive, and hospitals report an additional 525 were wounded by bullets, shrapnel or suffered in their race for safety.

Regrettably, the thousands of concertgoers who survived may not bear physical scars, but their lives will not be the same after their horrific experience.

Whatever warped motivation Paddock might have seen as a reason for mass murder, Americans will not find healing in assessing blame.

No, it would be far better to unify behind the selfless acts of heroism, behind those who sadly lost their lives, and behind those who survived but now live forever with the memories of a horrific night.

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