Holding Space for Las Vegas With Our Actions

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Monday, October 2, 2017

Holding space today for everyone in Las Vegas and those connected to the incident. Unfortunately, active shooters are part of our way of life now.

We can hold space for those affected, but we can also do some other things.

We can talk with our families, colleagues, or communities about what we do in the case of an active shooter. We know active shooters can show up anywhere. We want be able to go to a public event and be safe. Reality is that there is always risk.

Research has shown that any training, exercises, or discussions on potential emergencies help anyone involved in a response be more effective in their decisions when "the big one" happens. When the unimaginable becomes reality. Some of the people involved in this response would have been through training, exercises, and discussion that helped them respond. Hospitals, law enforcement, fire and EMS, stadiums, and even many casinos do plan for mass casualty incidents. This absolutely helps when one happens, even when the scale and scope of an incident like this one is hard to imagine in any discussion or exercise.

Our families and each one of us will be better prepared if we have thought through what we might do in such a situation. It's a tough conversation. Yet, imagine being in this scenario in Las Vegas. Imagine something similar where you live. What would you do?

We can honor those suffering pain and loss today by taking action to make a difference in some future scenario we can't yet imagine. We can accept that there will always be risk.

How do we make a difference next time?

We can support our local institutions and first responders. We can go to public meetings and make sure our tax dollars support the capabilities to respond to an active shooter in our communities. That means funded fire stations, ambulances, firefighters, EMS personnel, and law enforcement. We can see if our local hospitals can handle the surge from a mass casualty incident, and if not what would need to change so that they could. We can hold officials accountable for what they choose to fund.

We can build, lead, and expand citizen volunteer response groups to complement first responder, school, and hospital capabilities when emergencies happen.

In Las Vegas today, the community has come together for a massive blood drive. People are bringing food and water to those standing for hours in the heat waiting to donate blood. You never know when YOU will have the chance to solve a problem or contribute to a solution in a crisis, but you can be ready to do it when needed.

We can work on community building between police departments and communities. We can talk to our elected officials about our concerns on incidents like these happening in our town or city. Is there a plan? Can they handle a surge? How fast can mutual aid come in from another location? Is there an agreement and a process? Is the current approach optimal, or could it be improved?

We can honor those impacted today by making sure we are ready next time. By making sure our families and our communities are ready. By recognizing that we live in a risky world, but that we can take actions now to help us deal with that risk.

It can also help us not panic when we find ourselves in a crisis. When we are able to think clearly in an emergency, we will be better able to help those around us.

Finally, we can recognize trauma, heartbreak, and sadness. Anyone involved in something like this experiences the trauma of it. We need empathy to help us help those involved. To understand when they need space and support. Empathy is powerful.

We can always find a way forward. We do it together.



UPDATE:  This quote, also posted hereis from a witness named Anthony, filmed with his girlfriend Dillon.  He was interviewed by Jo Ling Kent, NBC News Correspondent at 8:05 p.m. Las Vegas time, 10/2/2017, on The 11th Hour with Brian Williams on MSNBC:
“It’s time to stop the hate… it’s time to unify as a people.  I think we’ve seen enough of this, you know.  It needs to take more than a president; and it needs to take more than a shooting to split us as American people.  There’s no room for hate anymore in this country and if you have any of it in your heart, you have to come forward and talk to somebody and find peace with God or whoever you find peace with.  We are wonderful people; great people.  And what disturbs me the most is every single soul that I met that night every single smile I gazed upon was peaceful and having a great time.  I bumped shoulders with somebody there, and they would say ‘excuse me;’ or ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’  That’s really what being human and being an American is about is having manners and coming from a good upbringing and setting a good example to the world.  Now is the time."

Note:  Discussion on this post is happening on the Counterfear Facebook page, located here.

Follow Up:  We are seeing a lot of heroic stories come out of this emergency. What would you do in such a crisis? Mary Tyszkiewicz, Ph.D, has created an idea called "Heroic Improvisation" to help us work through scenarios. Check out Heroic Improv on Facebook, or go to the website.

Are you interested in working through what you can do to help in a crisis?  Or a similar situation?  Check out private coaching at inclusive pricing ratesThere is always something to do to help, and to be ready.  We find our way through this world together.

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