Las Vegas is an amazing place to live.
We are more than a simple gambling town — there’s a culture, a kindness and a spirit in Las Vegas that most people probably don’t realize.
But, that aside, we are known for one thing: Having a good time.
As Kevin Williamson, with the National Review, points out, that is part of what made the events on Sunday night so jarring.
“The massacre was horrifying,” Williamson writes. “There isn’t any place you want to have a massacre, of course, but there is something especially heartbreaking about having this happen on the Strip — a place dedicated to nothing more or less than having fun.”
And yet, despite the grotesque evil that took place, there is some solace we can take by watching the aftermath.
The people of Las Vegas turned out in droves to support each other. The tales of heroism are breathtaking. Blood banks were so overwhelmed with donations, they actually had to turn people away at some location.
In the wake of the heartbreaking events on Sunday, the people of Las Vegas, the citizens of Nevada and, indeed, the whole of America have shown that the good and decent character of this nation remains intact.
The phrase “Vegas Strong” has been trending in recent days on social media. It is a fitting phrase for how the community is recovering from the shooting. This city will overcome and pull through — and it will do so because, as the hashtag indicates, it is stronger than the evil acts of one man.
Below are a few of the stories from this last week that, despite the gravity of events, manage to inspire and uplift.
On behalf of everyone at NPRI, our thoughts and prayers go out to those impacted by Sunday’s shooting.
Together, we can remain strong.
Heroes from Sunday night
Many good people risked their lives to help complete strangers Sunday. While that night saw the absolute evil that exists in this world, it also demonstrated the virtue, honor and selflessness that still reside in the human spirit. Jonathan Smith, a 30-year-old copy machine repairman, directed more than 30 people to safety before being shot himself. He will likely carry the bullet wound for the rest of his life. Army veteran Rob Ledbetter used a shirt to apply a tourniquet to a wounded girl, before rushing off to help others. Lindsay Padgett and her fiancé, Mike Jay, managed to use a truck to get numerous people to medical care, despite the chaos surrounding them. Indeed, as tragedy unfolded on the Strip, awesome selflessness responded. (Read more)
Americans rush to help
Within days, a GoFundMe page to help victims had more than $2 million in donations. The fund continues to grow, as Americans from every background do what they can to give financially to recovery efforts. (Read more)
High-profile acts of charity
The Vegas community turned out in force to support those impacted by the shooting — and that community included everyone from the minimum-wage worker to the high-profile celebrity. Celine Dion decided to donate the proceeds from her Tuesday show at the Colosseum in Caesar’s Palace to the victims and families of Sunday’s Route 91 shooting. “On Sunday we lost too many beautiful, innocent souls, and so many are still suffering, but tonight we’re going to let these families know that we are supporting them and that we will help them through their tragic loss,” Celine, at the top of her show, told audience members. (Read more)
Efforts are ongoing
Even after the initial shock of the shooting gave way to political discussions over gun control, the local community in Vegas remained focused on what really matters: The families of those who lost loved ones. The owners of Stonerose Landscapes in Las Vegas received permission to create a memorial park — and local volunteers showed up in force. Moon Valley donated trees, Star Nursery donated shrubs, SR Trucking delivered soil and nearly 400 volunteers donated their time. John Pacheco, an artist whose studio sits just behind the garden, even brought coffee to the volunteers. (Read more)
Las Vegas is home
There is, and always has been, something special about Las Vegas. Kevin Williamson writes in the National Review that “Las Vegas is in my experience one of our least offensive cities, full of decent and hardworking people, kind and indulgent, living and working in the shadow of the international circus in the middle of it all. They’re veterans and immigrants and business owners who listen to a lot of jokes about the lovely, sunny, very livable city they call home. They’re tolerant, and they have good reason to be.” The shooting on Sunday will not, in the long run, change any of that. “People will keep going to Las Vegas for the same reasons they’ve always gone, and the cleverer among them might look around a little bit and discover some new ones. A few of them might decide to stay, as I did, at least for a while, and learn to appreciate the very real virtues of a city supposedly built on vice.” (Read more)