Whatever Las Vegas once represented, it now represents the latest horrific thing we’ve done to each other, with all the predictable politicking on its heels.
Another Day in America.
At least 59 dead and 527 hospitalized. A sick heart and mind, armed to the teeth, can shatter so many lives in so short a time. We must come to grips with that. I don’t know entirely what it will mean to come to grips with that, but I know we must.
There are times we have to narrow the focus and find the clearest core fact of a situation. Times we must, before giving in to the reflex reaction to respond from whichever side of an issue we’re on, grasp fully and deeply the essence of what we’re dealing with.
Before there can be an effective treatment plan there’s got to be a clear diagnosis – a clear-eyed, “Step One” moment. Like, “We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.” Period.
I’m somewhat familiar with that one, and how it works. There’s nothing attached to that self-diagnosis, only the inherent first-step value in seeing and calling something precisely what it is. Which, by the way, is what we were told by certain politicians in the matter of “Radical Muslim Terrorism,” and they weren’t wrong.
The problem is, whether Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, concealed-carry holder (like me) or anti-gun advocate, people too often try to manage reality to fit their beliefs.
Like the alcoholic who refuses to accept his reality for fear of what it might portend, we have to let go.
When it comes to Las Vegas, we must let go and come to grips with what the videos from the scene show. We have to let go and accept what we clearly heard.
It wasn’t “like balloons popping.” A balloon pop is an entirely individualized occurrence and sound, even when a number of them are popping.
It wasn’t “like firecrackers.” Firecrackers are an erratic, chaotic, riff.
What we hear on the videos from Las Vegas is warfare.
Combat gunfire. A sound most of us have only heard in war movies. A militaristic surprise attack raining down on thousands of innocent people.
You’d have to slow the audio down to try to count the shots per second. Or deaths per second. Or universes shattered, per second.
I can’t capture it typing and you can’t read the staccato syllables fast enough. Non-stop shots sounding like the hammering of a helicopter, though maybe higher pitched. A pounding percussion that punctures your ear and pierces your heart.
On the other end of that sound we know – we can feel – is a hand, squeezing tight against the trigger, resisting the recoil to keep squeezing. Keep squeezing. Keep killing. It’s not the sound of a gun. It’s the sound of war.
Find a link to one of the videos and listen. Not vicariously. Rather, to experience; to empathize. The one I listened to is here: http://tinyurl.com/yaztde2p
As you listen, pray for the Las Vegas victims. As you hear, pray for their families and friends.
And as you process what you’ve listened to and heard, pray for the serenity to accept what those sounds are trying to tell you.
Observer contributor Keith Larson can be heard on “The Larson Page” weekdays at Noon on ESPN Radio Charlotte (730 AM) and TheLarsonPage.com.