This morning, I was driving my 5-year-old daughter to camp when I had to change the radio station to avoid her hearing news of the mass shooting in Las Vegas.
“Good,“ she said, "I don’t want to hear that anymore.”
I know that she was not alone. As we wake up, yet again, to the news of violence—this time the worst mass shooting in U.S. history—our thoughts and prayers are first and foremost with the victims of the shooting in Las Vegas, and with their families, friends and loved ones. Their lives are shattered by an act of extreme violence.
But our thoughts and prayers also go out to each of you who woke up to this news. While our lives may not be shattered by these events, they are nevertheless left damaged. Those of us who were simply lucky not to be in the wrong place, at the wrong time—this time—this event made a small chip in our collective feeling of physical and emotional safety. Once again, we are faced with reassuring our children that they will be safe when we don’t necessarily feel safe ourselves.
In the aftermath of this shooting, questions should and will be asked once again about the rightful balance between personal freedom and collective safety; between the right to bear arms and the right to life; and between the power of special interests and the power of our society to hold these special interests accountable. If past is prologue, however, then it's unlikely we'll see a radical shift in our gun laws, nor in the sharp divide that surrounds the very discussion of them.
We must, of course, persist in pursuing uncomfortable conversations. And we must also ask what else can we do to prevent such atrocities in the future?
This morning, as news of events in Las Vegas filtered through to Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCAs, Jewish Community Centers, camps, and other community organizations across the country, staff and volunteers set about doing what they do: Serving the communities around them and bringing people together to form the kinds of bonds that help keep us all safe.
That's your work. And I saw the impact of this work with my own eyes.
As I dropped my daughter off at camp and watched her run into the woods with her counselors and fellow campers, she immediately felt welcome and protected. The small chip made by this morning’s news was already being repaired—for us both.