Amidst tragedy in Vegas, humanity shines

Tommy Conroy

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In the aftermath of the shooting that transpired on the night of October 1st, the city of Las Vegas wept, as did the rest of our nation.

A gunman opened fire on innocent concertgoers enjoying the Route 91 music festival on the Vegas Strip. In the crowd of 22,000, enjoying a closing performance by country musician Jason Aldean at the time, 58 people were killed, and another 546 were injured.

The shooter fired on the crowd with an AR-15 rifle outfitted with a “bump stock”- a legal modification making rapid firing possible. The gun also featured a high power scope, and a magazine capable of holdig

This incident stands as the most deadly shooting in American history. We all can pray that it will remain that way, and our nation never has to suffer such evil again.

The monster who committed the reprehensible (a word that even in its severity seems to be an understatement) crime will not be named in this article. He will be given no further attention.

Nor will the issue that reignite when tragedies like this occur be brought up in detail; that issue being gun control. An important debate to be had in this country no doubt, but it becomes tiresome when we only seem to deeply care about it when tragedy hits us like a sledgehammer.

Instead, a spotlight will be shined on the individuals who, when faced with unfathomable horror, showed the brightest humanity has to offer.

29-year old Marine Corps veteran Taylor Winston was doing the two-step with his girlfriend when the music stopped and left only gunshots to ring out in the night. After climbing over a fence with his friends to safety, Winston did not flee the scene. He looked to help.

Winston checked nearby cars for keys, the first one he found a pickup truck. He took the vehicle and, along with his friends, loaded people into the backseat and bed of the pick-up, taking those in the most critical condition to the hospital. Then, he came back.

“Once we dropped them off, we were like well, let’s go back for round two and go get some more,” Winston said. After making the second run and going back to the scene, first-responders arrived.

Winston ended up driving 30 people to the hospital. And returned the truck to its owner the very next day.

Directly under the line of fire, 30-year old Jonathon Smith led 30 people to safety on his own. Smith crashed through a security gate and created a human-chain leading out of the concert area. Unfortunately, they stumbled right into the gunman’s sights.

When standing to tell a group of girls to get down, Smith took a bullet to the neck. The injury was non-fatal, and Smith received medical attention.

Smith may have to live with a bullet in his neck for the rest of his life. He also suffered a bruised lung, cracked rib, and fractured collarbone.

While Winston ferried the injured to salvation and Smith took a bullet for complete strangers, husband and wife Dawn-Marie and Kevin Gray took cover inside of a VIP section. After the gunfire stopped, the Grays left the safety of the VIP section before knowing if the area was even safe.

The Grays, along with other nameless off duty nurses and doctors, administered CPR, crafted tourniquets, and applied pressure to wounds. They did so until first responders arrived at the scene, and then assisted in loading the injured into waiting vehicles and ambulances.

“That’s being a human being,” said Dawn-Marie. “That’s doing our job.”

What happened on the night of October 1st in Las Vegas should not be forgotten anytime soon. But, it is important that we remember that even when heinous evil of our own doing is on hideous display, the good of humanity shines.

 

Jonathon Smith stoically recovers from gunshot wound to the neck.

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