I've written and rewritten this piece six times, but it still feels wrong. Sometimes you just can't find the words. That's okay. At a moment like this, when emotions are running as hot as they are, it's fine to take that beat to catch your breath.
Today, like far too many before, is going to hurt. It's going to hurt because you're human, and you have empathy, and you care about your neighbors. It's going to hurt because another place of joy has been upended into a nightmare.
It's okay to be angry. It's okay to be scared. It's okay to be so frustrated you just want to scream. Know that you are not alone. Know that every emotion you feel is shared by millions of others. Know that, right now, incredibly brave people are working tirelessly to save lives.
It's okay to be afraid, but not forever. We have to stand up. We have to rise against this fear. That may seem impossible alone, but you are not alone.
Today, we need to stand together against the forces that would divide or destroy us.
And people will try to divide us today. Tragedy makes it so much easier. Don't let them.
When someone blames this on a politician, don't let that divide us.
When someone blames this on faith in the wrong god, don't let that divide us.
When someone blames this on abortion or gay marriage, don't let that divide us.
When someone cries out that this could have prevented if just every fucking person alive had a gun, don't let that divide us.
Instead, we have to rise together and--for the last time--find a solution.
Instead of just blaming politicians, call them. Make their phones ring every hour of the night. It is their job, as our represented leaders, to design a government that protects its people. Let them know, in no uncertain terms, that they have failed. They have failed so utterly and shamefully that their job is essentially forfeit. If they sit on their hands when we need them most, then we don't need them at all.
Now I know the country is split on this issue like few others. Our 2nd Amendment (in a manner of speaking) describes the right of every American to own a firearm. That's an argument we can have another time, and I welcome the debate. I always learn something from new voices. But if you can look at these tragedies and believe, without any reservation, that changing nothing is an acceptable solution, then I don't know what to tell you.
Because, and this is the worst note of the day, this will happen again. As sure as tax season rolls around, this horrific event will repeat itself over and over in our country. The only way to prevent the next Las Vegas is to do SOMETHING. You can't wring your hands, "like" a few Facebook statues, and call it a day. Something has to change. A law has to be passed. People have to accept that "the way it was was" is not "the way it's going to be."
You may not have been personally touched by this tragedy, but we are rapidly approaching the day when there won't be a single person alive unconnected from a mass shooting. It will be the new Six Degrees. Even if you are lucky at this moment, reach inside and find that shred of human decency we all still have kicking around. Your neighbors are mourning. Your fellow Americans are grieving. Don't offer bumper-sticker platitudes. Work together and let's FIND A SOLUTION.
Together, we can fight any evil. Together, we can weather any storm. Together, we can rebuild our cities.
Together, we can solve anything. So don't be divided today. Be united. Reach across this stupid political divide and hug your neighbor (don't hug strangers without their consent, as that's generally frowned upon). Let's stop rhetoric from the pundits and actually move forward with a solution.
Make today the last day we ever have to have this conversation.