Mourning for those you didn’t know

AP PHOTO
Greg Arnerich, of Mesa, Ariz., pauses at a memorial for the victims of a mass shooting in Las Vegas earlier this week.

AP PHOTO Greg Arnerich, of Mesa, Ariz., pauses at a memorial for the victims of a mass shooting in Las Vegas earlier this week.

Sometimes the most difficult part about being a journalist is having to separate yourself from the story.

When an event occurs, you have to remain objective. It’s important that you present all viewpoints and avoid getting caught up in the emotion of the story.

However, when 59 people lose their lives because of some senseless act, how do you not become emotionally involved?

I did not know any of the people who died last Sunday in Las Vegas.

But when I hear of their stories, I cannot help but pause for these lives lost and the tremendous pain endured by those who knew them.

Maybe the reason these stories are so difficult is that a tragedy like this could occur anytime, anywhere and to anyone.

We’ve all see the news flashes and alerts about mass shootings at schools, restaurants, movie theaters, etc. We see, almost daily, the disregard for law enforcement, killed in the line of duty. There is no pattern other than so many of these events are random and no amount of security measures could stop a shooter or shooters hell-bent on destroying so many lives.

Pundits will undoubtedly start second-guessing security protocol for different events and the gun control debate will rage on. Some politicians have stepped into the fray and advocates on both sides will sound alarms about future incidents.

But for now, I go back to the 59 people who died, knowing that each one had a story.

Because some of them were so young, their lives held a great deal of promise, making this story even more heartbreaking.

And while I knew none of the Las Vegas victims, I think I’m like the rest of the country, wishing I could do more to offer solace and comfort to those who loved them so dearly.

That’s the thing about America — our compassion to help others, share in their grief, help raise the spirits of those in pain — is unparalleled.

Whether it’s these folks in Las Vegas, law enforcement officers, students and teachers in Connecticut, or the events of 16 years ago — 9/11 — our collective humanity shines.

And while it’s not always some catastrophe that brings us together, it certainly pushes us to be resolute and strong.

I wish I knew what to tell those who have lost so much this past week.

Maybe it’s just enough for them to know that there are others who know their pain and that in times of trouble, they are never really alone.

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Contact Jeff Hutton at 641-753-6611 or jhutton@timesrepublican.com