On October 1st, 2017, tragedy befell upon a large crowd of people who were attending a country music concert in Las Vegas, Nevada. The tragedy that occurred was a shooting that lead to the deaths of 58 people and injuring close to 500. As sad as this tragedy is, it expresses more than what may be wrong with society; it also shows the altruistic side of people who did heroic actions in order to protect others over themselves.
When watching the news, the media is sure to talk about how tragic the Las Vegas shooting is and how many people died, but what they don’t realize is that through this tragic event there were people who put others before themselves and expressed the kinder side of humanity. In a situation like the Las Vegas shooting, everyone will react differently based upon the psychology of fight, flight, or freeze. The fight, flight, or freeze is the automatic response a person has to a traumatic or stressful event in their life. It’s hard to picture being in a situation where the next move may be the last one, but to actually be in that situation and keep the safety of others in mind is a feat not often expressed.
Mr. Paul Gunter, a staff member of FBCS, talked about a friend he has that was present at the Las Vegas shooting when it occurred. When Paul first heard about the shooting on the news, he was worried that it could have been at the venue where some of his friends from Los Angeles were playing. He later saw posts on social media of firsthand accounts and felt confounded. When he talked about how Angela* described the shooting to him, he said, “The way she talked about it was like it was somebody describing a movie plot; it seemed surreal. It seemed like something that wouldn’t actually happen to people in real life.”
Angela is a doctor in the Air Force, and she was attending the concert with a few of her friends who are also active members of the military. Paul describes what he had heard from Angela beginning with, “They were at the concert and heard some shooting. A couple of people next to them were actually shot, and they were getting people behind some of the concert barricades they use in front of the stage.” Paul also describes how they hid a few civilians under vehicles and anywhere else they could find to protect people from the barrage of bullets. Paul continues to recite the story by saying, “In the process [of hiding people] one of the people that was with their group got shot through the shoulder.” There was also a point in time when Angela and her friends were attempting to hide a few people behind a Jeep, but in the process one of the civilians was shot in the back and head multiple times.
Paul believes that Angela and the others in her group reacted differently than most people in this situation because they are in the Military and have served on tours. Paul also mentions that the woman who was shot in the shoulder had surgery and is doing better. He also says that Angela and her group have stayed in touch with some of the people they helped. Paul believes the civilians will be traumatized and suffer from PTSD for quite some time from seeing many people shot down before them.
The acts of heroism shown by Angela and her group of friends are just some of many altruistic acts that were shown by others during this dark time. Other accounts of heroism include Rob Ledbetter, a retired U.S. Army veteran, who tended to the wounded. There was also the account of Dr. Sonny Melton who died protecting his wife from the gunfire, as well as the accounts of Taylor Winston, a Marine veteran, who found a truck and drove at least 30 people to the hospital, Dawn-Marie Gray and her husband Kevin Gray who stayed behind and tended to the wounded, and Jonathan Smith who got shot in the neck while helping 30 people to safety. For all the acts of heroism that have been expressed, there has also been a dark side of human nature shown to the world. How could someone be capable of killing so many people?
Normally, one may blame society for the actions of this person or rather blame the person completely for the reason as to why they would be capable of such a disgusting deed, but to say, it is just one thing can never be correct for both of these options lie hand in hand.
The reason for why someone would be capable of creating a tragedy like this is due to a combination of society and that person as an individual. As far as the world knows, Stephen Paddock didn’t have a motive or clear reasoning for why he did this, but it happened and the fault for his actions lies both within himself and our society that promotes violence and therefore lays the foundation for these kinds of tragic events.
Even though the Las Vegas shooting is a tragedy that should not have happened, some light was shown that in great darkness there is still good in people. The tragedy of the Las Vegas shooting reveals society in a negative way and being riddled with problems that would lead to a person doing something so devastating; however, the fault is not just with society. The heroic deeds done by people like Angela and her friends made a significant difference during this dark time and saved many lives. Everyone is affected by an event such as this. As time goes on, hopefully our society and individuals will find the answers to our dilemma and make a tragedy like the Las Vegas shooting less likely to occur.