Vigil

love prompt

© 2016 – Elaine Farrington Johnson

Several vigils were held Monday night to honor the victims of the shooting. Communities came out in Reno, Las Vegas and at the campus of University of Nevada Las Vegas.

Sandra Casey, a special education teacher in Manhattan Beach, California, was killed, the Manhattan Beach Unified School District said. “We lost a spectacular teacher who devoted her life to helping some of our most needy students,” school board President Jennifer Cochran said.

Sonny Melton also was identified as among the dead. His employer, Henry County Medical Center in Paris, Tennessee, said Melton was a registered nurse. His wife survived the shooting.

Police had no prior knowledge of the gunman before the attack, (Clark County Sheriff Joseph) Lombardo said. “I don’t know how it could have been prevented,” he said.

-from an October 2, 2017 report by CNN

“If they wouldn’t do anything when children were murdered I have no hope that Repugs will ever do the right thing. I’m actually not even sympathetic bc country music fans often are Republican gun toters.” -Hayley on Facebook

Yeah…I was thinking that since this directly hits the country-music population…maybe they will actually do something now. But after Sandy Hook, Republicans reacted by wanting to arm teachers. So lets see what today’s… -Erin replying on Facebook

It was night but she wore a large hat and sunglasses that covered most of her face. She didn’t want to take the chance of being recognized, but after what she’d said, she realized she couldn’t stay away, either.

She had been so focused on her anger at the people she thought were at fault, at all of those who she believed didn’t care about those twenty innocent lives who had been callously extinguished by a man and a rifle at Sandy Hook Elementary School. She had forgotten that the 59 people who died just yesterday and the hundreds whose lives still hung in the balance were people, too.

At first, all she thought of was that if a large group of conservatives were the victims of gun violence, conservatives would be forced to respond by enacting better measures of gun control. Obama hadn’t accomplished what she’d hoped for in his eight years in office and no one could count on Trump and a GOP led Senate to do what was right. But after she thoughtlessly made her own hateful comments in social media, she realized she wasn’t any better. She had chosen to devalue human lives just as she accused others of doing.

“It will never end…” she muttered to herself, hardly able to restrain her tears, “…until all of us value each other’s lives, not just lives like our own.”

Although I didn’t post this to today’s Linkup (since only one submission is allowed), consider it a “part two” of my response to Priceless Joy’s writing challenge. There are just too many ways to respond to such senseless violence, and I chose to leverage my previous commentary on the words of Hayley Geftman-Gold which drew a great deal of national ire less than a day ago.

I read that she has since apologized for her comments, and while I don’t believe she’d risk exposing herself any further by actually attending a vigil in Las Vegas, I sincerely hope in her heart she understands that the 59 dead were also the sons, daughters, parents, and siblings of people who loved and were loved, just like the rest of us.

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2 thoughts on “Vigil

  1. By the way, since I seem to be the only commenter here so far, let me say that I appreciate this take on the thoughtless, egregious comments by a New-York Jewish lawyer who apparently wasn’t paying attention in shul on Yom haKippurim. I don’t fault her friend quite so much, because her response was likely impelled by friendship more than personal conviction. I’ve noted the tendency among women to say comforting, supportive things to their friends, regardless of any objective considerations that might instead offer criticism. The dynamic is a bit different between men, who may tend to be more confrontational as individuals. Nonetheless, a group of men together may fall into the same trap of “group-think”, even to the point of becoming an unreasoning mob — so the difference may not be as significant as it might at first appear.

    Most of the conversation on this matter seems to be occurring after your previous post, though I think this one touches more succinctly on the issue of how we look upon others in society with whom we may disagree and whose cultural preferences differ from our own.

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    • Hayley Geftman-Gold most likely was not in shul on Yom Kippur (that’s an educated guess, but probably a good one) and more’s the pity. Perhaps she would have erred on the side of compassion rather than cruelty, though I’m not sure in her heart of hearts, she really believes she said anything wrong, particularly when, even days later, I find some people in social media continuing to agree with her original statement.

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