Vegas shootings, the names: Matt's Memo
Numbers may tell the story, but it's the names that touch your heart. Names, faces and lives. Over night we knew the Las Vegas shooter had opened fire and had dozens of victims. By early morning, we knew many were dead. By late morning the world knew the shooter killed more than 50. It was the deadliest mass shooting in American history.
The progression of the numbers caught our attention. It escalated the media coverage. It brought comments from the President. By the afternoon we were learning names, seeing faces and hearing the stories of the victims. So many of them are remembered in their photos with beaming smiles. A much different picture than the end to their life which must have been filled with fear and confusion.
I can't help but think back nine days ago to the crowded Carrier Dome. 35, 000 people enjoying a three hour Paul McCartney concert. Or a few weeks before with 15,000 at a Lakeview Amphitheatre show. Couple weeks before that to 1,000,000 guests at the New York State Fair including large crowds packed into Chevy Court for acts like Earth, Wind and Fire.
It is tempting to feel our community is immune. We might think we're too small to experience a mass shooting. We generally feel secure. So did people attending the country music festival Sunday night in Las Vegas. They were patted down, wanded and searched for security purposes. But, the attack did not happen inside the festival grounds. In fact, the elements in place, such as barricades, to keep the ven secure ended up corralling people in a manner that kept them from freely fleeing.
The promoters did not account for the skyscraper Mandalay Bay hotel as a perch for a sharpshooter with 19 weapons in his 32nd floor corner suite. That's all more numbers, isn't it? We started out focused on the names.
That's where we end. 59 names of the dead. The names of 527 casualties is almost too many to list.