Look for the helpers. That’s what the late, great Fred Rogers said after 9/11, and his words echo in the bloody wake of America’s latest and worst-ever mass shooting.
At least 58 dead. More than 400 injured. No more answers than there were the last time, or the time before that.
We still don’t know much about Stephen Paddock, the 64-year-old Nevada man whom police say rained bullets on innocent concert-goers from the window of his hotel room at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. He killed himself as police moved in. By all accounts, Paddock had no known history of violence, held no strong political opinions and gave no outward sign he was capable of gunning down strangers out for a night of fun music in an American city.
Usually, there are immediate clues to the shooter’s motivation, no matter how twisted or incoherent. Nothing about Stephen Paddock adds up. That’s the most chilling aspect of this tragedy. As humans, we are hardwired to ask why. Maybe there is no why.
We will learn more about Stephen Paddock as the story unfolds, but for now I choose to focus on the helpers. As first-responders scrambled to keep up with the carnage, everyday citizens used whatever could be fashioned into stretchers and carried victims to hospitals in wheelbarrows and their own vehicles. They were terrified and had no way of knowing whether more shots were coming, but they lifted up strangers and did what they could to save lives. They came together. As Americans. There’s a lesson there somewhere.