I woke up in the middle of the night to news of a shooting in Las Vegas. I reached for my phone to see how many more minutes of sleep I could squeeze in before I needed to begin the day. My mind shifted quickly from it’s sleepy state to being pulled into the pieces of the story that were slowly forming. I tried to get back to sleep, completely aware that it may be easier for me than those affected. Or that I have the ability to close my eyes and wake up again.

I try to make sense of these situations. But I don’t understand. I am confused, and hurt and sad. With all of the tragedies that have occurred, I have tried to put myself in those positions because I have been a student in an elementary school, a middle school and a high school. I have been a student on a college campus. I have been to a night club. I have been to a concert. I have been to an outdoor country concert. And I have been to Vegas—more times than I can remember.

But I can’t relate to what those children and adults have experienced. I have never been in a situation like that. I have never lost a loved one to an incident like that. I have not had something like that happen in my community. But I hurt. I ache for those affected. I want to do everything, anything to take away the pain.

I understand trauma. I understand the ripple effect that trauma has on lives. I know those were mothers, fathers, brothers, aunts and grandparents. They were teachers, nurses, police officers, co-workers, neighbors, mentors, friends and members of communities. I know that the death toll may read 59, and more importantly I also know that number will never be able to represent the significant changes and ways this event will alter the lives of so many people.

We are all driven by connection, that is why these events shake us to our core. It is our worst nightmare. We try to make sense and find meaning. We try to rationalize. We go through the stages of grief. I wish more people were angry. Angry enough to urge change and call those in power to action. We need intervention.

I still believe there are more good people than bad. I believe that there is hope and beauty in life everyday. I believe that those affected will be able to go on and do many good, good things for themselves, others and for those they lost. I plan to continue to do good. I plan to build programs that build connections. I hope that I can make a difference in children’s lives in my community. I hope that small gestures will have large impacts and I hope that I can make large gestures that will plant seeds for continued positive growth.

I cannot sit idly by. I hope you can’t either.

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