A few nights ago, I sat on my couch watching a press conference about the horrendous tragedy that took place in Las Vegas last Sunday night. A week later, law enforcement officials are still working to try to ascertain how such a senseless act of violence was committed against thousands of innocent people. Though not as frequently, the news is still telling the stories of heroism and sacrifice of the people who were in attendance at the concert when the shots rang out. Stories of people putting their own lives at risk as they tried to help total strangers survive the horror of that night. People placing their fingers and hands into the wounds of people they'd never met in an attempt to stop the bleeding ... people wrapping themselves over others to shield them from the torrent of bullets ... people refusing to leave someone alone as they lay dying ... people who were shot themselves as they tried to help others ... people who on the darkest day of their lives found the strength and the courage to become heroes.
If you've watched even a small portion of the news coverage regarding the violence of last Sunday night, you've probably heard the following statement made repeatedly by law enforcement personnel and members of the FBI ... "There are many unanswered questions." Questions about how a seemingly normal 64-year-old man locked himself into a room on the 32nd floor of a prominent hotel with an arsenal of guns and brutally murdered 58 people and wounded hundreds more. Questions about how he obtained all the weaponry, ammunition and bomb-making materials without raising suspicion. Questions about whether he had an accomplice in the meticulous planning of such a massive attack. Questions about how he fooled everyone in his life and kept his murderous desires so well hidden. And without question, the most pervasive question of all ... for loved ones of the victims, for law enforcement officials, for family and friends of the shooter and for our entire country ... the most devastating question of all is why.
I nodded my head in agreement when the sheriff talked about how much more extreme a traumatic event becomes for people when there's no determination of motive and no explanation as to why it happened. Not knowing why something bad happens or why someone does something to hurt someone else is, in my opinion, one of the hardest things in life to understand. Though knowing a reason behind a person's actions won't erase the pain that was inflicted or lesson the ripple effect that undoubtedly follows, I think we as humans innately want to find answers to the unanswered questions in our lives. Perhaps it's our attempt to restore some sense of dignity to our inner selves. Perhaps it's our quest to be able to trust again. Perhaps it's our hope that if we're told the answer, then the question of why will finally go away.
If ever there was a time when we need to reach out to the people around us, that time is now. If ever there was a time when we need to be kind to each other, that time is now. If ever there was a time when we need to make things right with someone we've wounded, that time is now. If ever there was a time when we need to practice forgiveness, that time is now. If ever there was a time when we need to tell others they matter, that time is now. If ever there was a time when we need to love each other, that time is now. If ever there was a time when we need to care about the lives of other people, that time is now. If ever there was a time when we need to answer the unanswered questions, friends, that time is now ... if ever there was a time, my friends, that time is now.