Essay on Las Vegas Massacre

The Las Vegas massacre, I purposely did not watch the news after the tragedy. I listened to some of the news on the radio, on NPR, but I did not want to see the images. Grief triggers my own grieving well, and although not watching the TV news, I knew at some point I would start to read about it.

So totally heartbreaking reading some of the stories about those that died, the children or fiances or spouses or parents or grandparents or grandchildren or coworkers or students or teachers now grieving after their loss. Also, about those who were wounded and are alive. Such a story of heartache.

Such a story of reverberating impact on the web of connections from each of those people. It is not fifty-eight people, it is 58 villages, 58 lives and all the others that those 58 are involved with and connected to and influenced and touched in one way or another. It is mindboggling and overwhelmingly sad. So sad I find it impossible to take in the enormity of it all.

Each individual person and their story is gut wrenching enough. How do you take in the impact of loss of such multiple lives, multiple stories of people’s lives changed forever inside of what was it, eleven minutes? Reading through one of the Washington Post’s brief description of each person who died, one is more tragic and heart breaking than another. I used to think my mother was overly emotionally reactive to such tragic events. She is long gone. I am as emotionally reactive as she was, and maybe more so in some instances.

All of this triggers my own grieving which is still fresh. It has been eight months since Emilee died. The enormous wound of loss has changed in eight months time, but the edges of that wound are still on the rough side, and I think that makes me even more prone to tears when reading about the lives lost in Las Vegas.

I just can’t seem to wrap my head around the impact this kind of loss has on the organism that is the sea of humanity in which we are all swimming. I find it hard to believe that we just absorb this kind of a blow and it does not have some deep rippling effects on us. Somewhere, somehow, doesn’t this impact the organism that we call humanity or society? I understand that Las Vegas is Las Vegas and that days after this unimaginable event, Las Vegas is getting back to “normal”. For a moment, it’s helping with kindness for all those affected, was evident.

I do not understand how this kind of gaping wound is sustained, and tolerated. I do not understand why people are still reluctant to put stricter restrictions on people’s ability to procure weapons capable of such high-powered destruction and multi-victim lethalness.

I do not understand how business goes on as usual. I cannot believe that we “just go on”. The way my brain and my heart cannot understand the enormity of the grief and devastation one person inflicted on so many lives (deceased, wounded, and those left behind to deal with the enormous reverberating consequences), I cannot imagine that this event will not cause some kind of injury to the body or the psyche or both, of the being that is this living, breathing animal that is our world, our existence, our very soul.

How many times must we suffer bleeding, gaping, torn open flesh and sinew in nightmares that are embedded in victims that are both present and not present at such catastrophes (and I include responders in this group as well as anyone else touched by such horror with such wonderful aftereffects as PTSD). The survivors already are plagued with nightmares and suffer PTSD.

It is all just beyond my grasp of comprehension as to what the reluctance is to restrict an individual’s access to weapons of such destruction. You want handguns? Fine, keep your right to arms.

Politics and guns and all that B.S. aside, in focusing on the larger US as people, how in God’s name do we manage to go on existing, and keep recovering from, these self-inflicted wounds?

This is Neal Harvey….good day!!

Neal Klein
Life After Emilee, on the loss of my wife to pancreatic cancer. I’m not accepting comments right now but please feel free to get in touch via my Contact page.