When I woke up this morning at 2:15am to feed the baby, I scrolled through Facebook to stay awake for ten minutes, not imagining what I would find. I didn’t sleep well the rest of the night, and like all of America, I haven’t been mentally calm all day. I’ve been listening to the radio, following the latest revelations online, and watching with deep sorrow as the death toll continues to rise.
Never letting a good crisis go to waste, all I’ve been hearing is “pro-gun this” and “anti-gun that”. I have my opinions on that matter, but at this part of the story, they are not relevant whatsoever. Little exchanges like these on twitter are amusing, but ultimately, unhelpful:
There is something extremely aggravating about the uncertainty of the events and the knowledge that we will probably never know what happened exactly. I hate having to wait and see what narrative is trotted out, and I hate even more the opportunistic posturing from both political sides. But most of all, I hate the feeling of helplessness that comes after a tragedy like what happened in Las Vegas last night.
As I reflected, listened, and prayed today, three non-partisan, non-controversial, and actually productive things came to mind that I, and all of America and the world, could concretely do to prevent another mass casualty shooting.
Develop Situational Awareness
Firstly, we can work to develop situational awareness. There is nothing paranoid about preparing yourself to deal with a crisis, of any kind. A former Navy Seal, Johnathan Gilliam was talking this morning about ways to protect yourself and your children by merely being aware of where you are and what sort of a target you are.
Johnathan talked about how in crisis situations, people either act, or react. If you aren’t prepared to act, then the likelihood of unproductive reaction is high. But if you have even the slightest idea of a plan, you have something to do in a crisis. He likened it to Olympic athletes who practice the race in their heads, so when it starts, it is as if they had done it before and don’t need to think as much about what comes next.
He has a book coming out, which I plan to read. I can only imagine what I would do in a crisis situation, especially with my little kiddos in tow. Lord willing, I can prep myself a little better to take care of them and myself if the need arises.
Learn Basic First Aid
The second thing we can do is learn some basic first aid skills. The death toll from the shooting has been rising all day. Many of the injured who survived owe their lives to their fellow concertgoers who tended to their wounds. There is no reason not to know how to stop a bullet wound, how to make a proper tourniquet, and what to do for a person in shock.
The Red Cross has classes all over the country. There are free online classes. As a mom, this is something I should know anyways. Especially as a boy mom. The likelihood of having to deal with a gunshot wound is low, but the likelihood of having to do some homegrown first aid is very high.
Improve the Mental Health System
The last thing that everyday Americans need to do is develop more awareness of mental health and de-stigmatize those who seek help. We don’t know much yet about the shooter, but one thing is certain: he was insane. Sane people do not shoot 500+ people at a concert.
People don’t snap overnight. Its impossible to go from being a well adjusted person one day, and a mass murderer the next. The shooter was not an isolated hermit; we have seen and talked to his family and friends. Someone must have noticed a change in his demeanor; and it is shameful that he did not end up committed before he got this far.
It should go without saying that everyone should be praying for the victims of the Las Vegas shooting. Late this morning, I was playing a funeral and while I was singing Psalm 23, it gave me great comfort to remember that even in the most awful places and times, Our Lord is right there suffering with us, and keeping us safe from evil.
|Copyright Hilary Thompson (2017) all rights reserved|
I know it can’t fix what happened, but these things help me bring some order to this chaotic world we live in. I might not have all the information, but I am going to do what I can to keep my family– and in my own little way, our country– safe.