“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” — Dr. Seuss
Well here we are again. The Pulse nightclub shooting last year in Orlando is no longer the largest mass shooting in U.S. history. Now, Las Vegas sits at the top. And sadly, we know that this one won’t hold the record forever, either. There will be another. And another. And another. Unless something changes. Unless someone does something to stop the violence and stop the hate. Unless someone cares enough to save our kids.
As we all know, 59 people died and 527 others were injured on Sunday night when a gunman opened fire on an outdoor concert in Las Vegas. The New York Times reports that “the music stopped, and as victims fell bleeding, concertgoers screamed, ducked for cover, or ran.”
“‘Get down,’ one shouted. ‘Stay down,’ screamed another.”
So this is the new thing, now? After the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester last May, where 22 people were killed, it seems that wherever a crazed person with a gun can do the most damage, he will. Large crowds, like concerts, where people are packed in like sardines, happily singing and dancing to their favorite music, seems to be the latest target for mowing down large swaths of people.
These are acts of hate that take mothers and fathers from their children and children from their mothers and fathers. Acts of hate that rip apart husbands and wives and lifelong friends. Acts of hate that shake us to our core, making us wonder if it’s safe to go to concerts, or nightclubs, or school, or even leave our homes anymore.
Acts of hate that Jason Aldean himself condemned in an Instagram post shared late last night.
“Over the last 24 hrs I have gone through lots of emotions. Scared, Anger, Heartache, Compassion and many others,” he writes in his post. Aldean also goes on to admit his fears — fears we all can relate to as parents in America right now. “I truly don’t understand why a person would want to take the life of another,” he continues. “Something has changed in this country and in this world lately that is scary to see. This world is becoming the kind of place I am afraid to raise my children in.”
We can debate until we’re blue in the face about what has split this country in half, about what or who has caused the fighting and hatred and division; but the blame game is getting us nowhere. Aldean calls for us to come together as one America.
“At the end of the day we aren’t Democrats or Republicans, Whites or Blacks, Men or Women,” Aldean continues. “We are all humans and we are all Americans and it’s time to start acting like it and stand together as ONE! That is the only way we will ever get this Country to be better than it has ever been, but we have a long way to go and we have to start now.”
He’s right — we have to stop fighting. We are have to join forces or at least come across the table and be the strong country that we are capable of being. Arguing over whether Melania Trump wore the right shoes to Houston after Hurricane Harvey destroyed it, or whether Malia Obama got into Harvard fairly isn’t helping to save our nation. Refusing to listen to the opposing side’s point of view is not helping this division that prevents us from getting anything done. Sticking to our guns (literally and figuratively) and refusing to compromise on gun control legislation is not helping to keep our children safe. What will the next number be? Sixty people? Seventy? Will you be there? Will I? Will my children get hit in the crossfire? Will yours?
We have to do something. This is unacceptable. Sending thoughts and prayers every time this happens doesn’t prevent it from happening again in a few months. With a bigger number of casualties. We are better than this, America. And Jason Aldean clearly agrees. The country singer ends his post simply, by saying: “It’s time to come together and stop the hate!”
And he’s right. It’s time to come together and save our kids. It’s time to say to our president and all of our legislators — What are you going to do to save Americans? What are you going to do to stop these hateful acts of violence? What are you going to do to help unite us? We’re wounded and scared. But we’re listening.