Responses will always be the same to mass shootings

Laurel Outlook publisher

It was April 20, 1999, and a shooting at a high school in Columbine, Colo. would be the first time in my life I knew what a mass shooting was.
Thirteen people were killed that day.
I remember the news accounts and how shocking the video was as students, parents and first responders were interviewed.
It would be an all-to-familiar response: Lawmakers looked into what might be done to end this type of violence while others pushed back.

There was a quote that someone gave me back then. It goes:
“When I was a boy and I would hear about something scary…my mother said, always look for the helpers. You will always find somebody who’s trying to help.” Mister Rogers.

That quote popped up on Facebook yesterday as I was trying to digest the horrible mass killing that took place in Las Vegas.
A couple of things came to mind when I saw the quote again.
• There will always be evil in the world.
• People who want to hurt other people will always find a means.
• People will always mourn.
• People will always respond to help neighbors, friends, relatives and even strangers, when a tragedy hits.
• Kindness will always outsprint evil. Eventually.

The cycle of mass shootings in this country is speeding up and the body count keeps increasing.
In less than 11 minutes, one man killed 59 people and hurt 500 others in Las Vegas this week. Nearly 560 killed or hurt for just attending a country western concert? That is insane.

The number is painfully staggering especially when one knows that each of the victims had families and those families are mourning right now.
If you are hoping by reading this that you might find the answer to these senseless killings, you are looking in the wrong place. Truth is there is no one answer and politicians are of limited help.
What you might find here, at least through this writer’s eyes, is that people responded as they always will to a tragedy – whether it is a hurricane or a deranged man with a cache of guns.
Many years after the Columbine shooting, a program called Rachel’s Challenge came to my son’s middle school.
Rachel Scott was the first student killed at Columbine. By all accounts she was the type of high school student who reached out to all and was keenly aware of the bulling problem at her school that probably pushed the two students to go on a shooting spree.
Rachel’s Challenge is still going strong now because of the hard work of her parents and younger brother.
That was how one family responded to that tragedy.
Human nature and the human spirit will always respond to catastrophes. But with mass shootings occurring with more frequency, it is obvious there is something wrong somewhere.
We are a country looking for answers to a question that is hard to form.

“Let us not see the Republican answer or the Democratic answer but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future. “ John F. Kennedy.

David Keyes is publisher of the Laurel Outlook.

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