Bring Las Vegas Home
They say, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” But not this time.
On October 1, 2017, Stephen Paddock killed, at current count, 58 people and wounded another 515 from the isolated safety of his hotel room window.
It’s infuriating to watch senseless violence.
It’s repulsive to see publicity whores seize this moment to vomit their agenda on a traumatized nation. Can’t we wait a day or two to evaluate the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino? Do we need to tweet about divisive issues like gun control while some may still be dying?
There’s compassion as well. Parents, spouses, children, friends, and relatives of the victims have gaping holes in their hearts.
Las Vegas is over 2,000 miles from my home in Central Pennsylvania. But the tragedy is on my mind as I work. Lives ended. Hearts feel crushed. For many, life has changed forever. As I reflect, something personal is nagging me.
Life at a distance is sterile and safe.
It reminds me of a James Taylor concert I attended. A member of the audience yelled, “I love you James.” James replied, “I think it helps that we don’t know each other.”
Life in close proximity is messy.
Anger and compassion from a distance are appropriate, but how might leaders bring the tragedy of Las Vegas home?
Applying distant events to daily life makes distant events matter more.
Bring Las Vegas home:
Think of what you might do, if you were in Vegas.
- Show compassion. Hug and cry.
- Watch for danger.
- Treat others with respect.
- Find a pressing need to meet. Provide a meal, turn a listening ear, say a prayer.
- Strengthen the community by supporting others.
- Listen carefully while people tell their story.
- Inspire courage by making the best of a hellish situation.
But what if you’re not in Vegas?
Make Vegas matter by being the person you would be in Vegas – to people you can touch right now. Life is less sterile and more impactful when we think about being our Vegas-selves with people within our reach.
Being my Vegas-self makes me feel less helpless.
I’m not suggesting we forget the tragedy of Vegas. I’m saying, make it matter more. Bring Las Vegas into daily life. Bring Las Vegas home.
Thank you for posting this! Sadly, life at a distance is sterile and safe. In a world where you can be anything….be kind. Now more than ever.
Thanks Nancy. Great sentence… In a world where you can be anything….be kind.
well said. taking time to show care and help people in struggle is the course of action that will define leaders. the whores will always be open for business in their special side of town. Stay on Main Street where life is happening
Nailed it John! Thanks for stopping in.
Here’s a leadership question, “What do you want to define you?”
We need to stop talking about the killer and more about 1`st responder, police and other by standers that came to the assistance of those in need. they are all HEROS
Thanks Andrew! It’s too easy to get sucked into negativity. (Not that we need to ignore these issues.)
I’m bringing Vegas home. I think it honors everyone.
Wise words – thank you!
I just hope the media focus is on the people that lost their lives and not about the person that took those lives. Senseless….totally senseless!
Thanks Dana. Yes!
Thank you for this. I hate watching the politicization of evil; it is bad enough already. Leaders there and hear need to speak words of comfort.
Thanks Ken. Yes indeed. Let’s focus on the hurting people right now.
Publicity Whores? I completely disagree with your biting characterization of people who are willing to discuss sensible gun control measures even as our hearts are wrenched open. As a nation we have abdicated our responsibility to act on so many occasions that its shameful. If not now, when? I want to be defined by my willingness to speak up and take a stand. If ever there was a time to speak in a straightforward manner, while maintaining a center of compassion for those who are hurting, this is it.
Thanks Kay. I’m all for debate. It’s a matter of timing for me. Glad you joined in.
Dan I agree with Kay. The remainder of your words are terrific. Many of us (with the privilege of distance) are as angry as we are sad. Anger is what motivate social change. We will be back to business shortly and any momentum in Congress or anywhere else dissipates, especially with all the other news events that will pull us away.
There is initial evidence that controlling what information comes out about the killer and the events and releasing it gradually is HIGHLY effective in decreasing the incidence of copy cats. We all need to appreciate that each side of this debate has some truth and that we need to work together to do something rather than throw up our arms and simply reply “Guns don’t kill. People kill.”
I understand that your intention is to say we need to focus on what’s most important first, the people involved. We can do both.
Hi Dan, I have to agree with Bart and Kay in that harnessing of the sadness and anger naturally felt in response to this tragic and awful crime may be the only way to effect any real change. Assuming the majority of the American people require that change.
I’m British and saw the groundswell of anger following the Hungerford massacre in the UK result in significant change to our gun laws. (https://www.loc.gov/law/help/firearms-control/greatbritain.php) This does not mean that there is no gun ownership but much greater restriction and accountable ownership – farmers, hunters etc can legally own suitable weapons.
The unfortunate reality is that once this falls out of the news there wont be the same impetus for legislative change.
Regardless of politics, where we can all come together is that life is precious, cross party discussion and action is needed. As Bart says we can do both.
I hate to say this, but this tragedy, like so many others, will not be enough to prevent this from happening again. Many of those in Washington are so distant, they might as well be on another planet.
Thanks for your comments, Dan. My wife and I spent a very sleepless night because our son and daughter-in-law were at the concert – they were not injured – but witnessed it firsthand, heard the shots and saw many of the downed victims – and stayed in touch with us after they “took custody” of a friend’s daughter and her friends and sheltered them safely in their room a few hotels away. We are thankful we are not among those who might be traveling to Las Vegas to identify and claim loved ones who did not survive – but our hearts still hurt as out thoughts are with them as it could have been tragically different for us. A time for healing – and reflection -once again.
Thanks Bill. You brought the tragedy right to my heart. Just what I need. I know better how to bring Las Vegas home because of your comment.
appreciate you and your heart
Thanks Scott! I feel the same toward you.
Very well put.
Thank you Walter.
Kay, gun control doesn’t seem to change the hearts of those who hate.
Thanks Bob. Great seeing you here today. Glad you joined in.
Thanks for some practical ways to turn tragedy into constructive actions. In the face of overwhelming grief (and anger) your steps forward provide something we can all do.
Thanks Ken. I’m still reflecting on what it means to Bring Las Vegas Home. It means compassion for sure. It also means swift action when things go wrong. It also means seeing people as human beings. it also means doing what I can, even if I can’t do everything.
Thank you for your compassionate words. We have spent the day in the school district here trying to explain the events to children, trying to make them feel safe, and trying to regain our own sense of balance and “groundedness.” The messages from our friends and colleagues mean a lot right now.
Thanks Rebecca. You teach me how to better Bring Las Vegas Home. Thanks for caring for the children in your care.
It’s hard to explain these events to anyone. Thanks for serving.
Thank you, Dan, for using your platform to talk about what is helpful given what has happened. There will be enough time later for the debating, the blaming, and the avoiding of responsibility. Right now, we need to send love and comfort to those in Vegas and their loved ones. We need to love and hug those around us… everyday, not just today.May I suggest a loving kindness meditation that goes like this: May you be safe… may you be strong and healthy…may you be happy… may you live in peace and harmony.
Thanks Chris. Wonderfully put.
If you read Bill Lewis’s comment (in the list above) it will tear your heart out. I think it’s OK to let our own hearts bleed.
I’ve been sitting with your words for a while, Dan, especially as I am so grateful that one of my dearest friends in LV is alive and well. The compassion and human connection is so important. But does your post have a part two? How does a leader demonstrate compassion while also keeping the larger picture in mind? Compassion and love now — action to prevent more harm later. It cannot be an either/or, it must be a both/and.
…and this is why I read your blog, Dan. Amen and amen. Thanks
It is controversial that US is making interventions on the affairs of other Nations like N.Korea, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan etc., while their own people are prone to insecurity and infiltration by terrorists so consistently that a fear for life is prevailing within ?
Dan, people bring this home in different ways. Some, like you, turn to acts of kindness. Others renew their commitment to fighting for an assault weapons ban. It doesn’t make you a “media whore” to point out that this was a preventable crime.
A misfire, unless your goal was to cut readers like me for whom compassion IS action. You’ve written so many columns about how leaders must account for the different personality types within their teams. Thank goodness all those different types exist. Some of us will go for the hugs, offer “thoughts and prayers” and do local good deeds. Others will scream from the rooftops for policy changes we feel will help. Not everyone expresses compassion in the same way, or according to your timetable. By labeling us repulsive grandstanders, you shrink your team. I think we’re people you’d want on your team.
Hi Dan, while I understand your words its a time such as this that cuts the wheat from the chaff so to speak regarding a divisive topic. People respond to tragedy in different ways and if we can in some way use this very righteous anger to build bridges (narrow the divide) on a topic where we quite frankly need some common sense. Every year we are getting normalized to increasing numbers of people dying during the simple act of a concert, club, children attending school. I completely agree with Kay, this is THE TIME to speak. It is us who are quiet who must speak now for the 59 innocent people who lost their lives, for the 527 people injured. Not tomorrow, today. I do agree, what we need in this world is more compassion and love for each other. But we need to find a way to get help for the people out here who somewhere in their mind think their anger, fear justifies them taking the lives of other and then their own. But until that happens we need to find a way to reduce the chances of people like this getting guns in the first place.
id like to hear more stories of the heroic efforts of people helping people. first responders deserve recognition of course but there are countless stories of people reaching for each other who were all victims of this horror yet saw the humanity in each other that fear did not completely own. politics, rhetoric had no place in the face of shared danger but love and compassion did and for every hand held for another is a beautiful expression of the common bond of love that owned the moment. God bless those that helped each other. we can bring it home by following that example.
Great thoughts. Please if you read this, understand my context…this is NOT an attempt to compare the Vegas loss of life and tragedy and horror and fear and impact to anyone’s everyday life as a leader. Those are horrific circumstances that I hope I never have to face up front and personally.
Everyone as leaders experience situations daily which create stress, anxiety and a ‘feeling’ of loss.
Thank you Dan for the 7 Bring Vegas home comments. They can be applied in daily work.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Thanks for the post, Dan. I am willing to hold off on any debate on sensible gun control measures for a day or two or five; a week or a month. Let the healing take place. But, then, when we have the debate, can we do so in all earnestness and rigor at all levels (cities, states and country). Can we stop engaging in verbal violence; self-righteousness, and rely less on stereotypes and overt simplification on all sides of this debate and look at what would make this land and this country more safe. Can we deal with this complex topic with all of its nuances in a level headed, practical manner. America does not have a monopoly on people who are suffering from mental issues or those who wish harm on others- but, to stand by passively while this grotesque display of violence takes place on our streets is a sin like no other. This is not weeknight reality television or a two hour Hollywood movie; where the dramatic returns to normal when the camera or the screen goes dark. Real lives, young and old, men and women, people of all races and ethnicities are impacted. I cannot comprehend what it would be like to loose a loved one in an instant in one of these events. To not hear their voices again; to not feel their touch; to not feel their presence – all because, we as a nation, cannot have a rational and practical public policy debate and more importantly a debate that translates into concrete actions. No one policy will solve this problem in an instant. It will take discipline, and years of debate and action for us to get this right. But, can we begin our journey sometime soon!
To all that have lost a loved one in Vegas and beyond, my heart bleeds for you. I am profoundly sorry for your loss. Despite our best intent,there is nothing I or anyone can say or do, that will fill the permanent void in your lives. But, if I can offer you a shoulder to cry on or a few words of comfort, I will seek solace in that. Beyond that, let us unite as a country and promise you and everyone else, we will draw on your grief to make a real change one of these days.
Agree with the “whores”. Perhaps just making murder DOUBLY illegal will solve the problem!