It is a sad fact of my life that often when I travel some tragedy occurs. Actually, it is not a sad part of my life. Its a sad part of the collective pain we all experience. With social media and 24 hour news cycles we are never that far away from a tragedy. I just traveled to Florida for a business trip where I am to give a presentation on building capacity of the healthcare workforce. At the moment, I can’t even fathom how what I have to say can even fit into the heartbreak puzzle of what our lives have become. As I awoke this morning to get on my flight, I saw the news about Las Vegas.
I couldn’t believe that the happy place where I had just celebrated my son’s ninth birthday was the latest site of blood, tears, and death. Fifty nine people dead. Hundreds injured. A madman had broken his hotel window and sought out prey. He broke the window and saw targets. He broke the window and bloodlust took over.
As I was on my flight, I quietly tried to work while I kept looking through many of my past photos from Las Vegas and other places where I had sought to have fun and relaxation. Windows in my life have always been the television of my life. I grew up not feeling super safe outside on the streets and thus we often just looked out our windows. They provided a way for me to see the world. And on my travels, my hotel windows are always the first thing I go look at when I get into my room. They provide a glimpse of how things work. A glimpse of the culture and norms.
As I landed in Florida, I went straight to Twitter. I have already admitted I do look at social media for the news. And I was disheartened to learn that Tom Petty was on life support. Actually, when I first looked at Twitter, some were saying he had died and others were saying he was clinging to life. I love Tom Petty (more to come on this). I felt just life the day had come full circle in a ghastly, maudlin manner.
I checked into my hotel and went up to my room. I looked out the window and saw a serene state of affairs. There was a nice pool with lounge chairs waiting for people to come and frolick. There were some calm, lovely palm trees waiting to provide shade to someone. I turned on the television and I heard several individuals, that were being interviewed by the newscasters, note that they were numb. They noted that they didn’t know how to react anymore to the shootings.
Numb. That just saddens me. To be numb is to be deprived of responsiveness. We can’t be numb. I sat and shed a few tears and resolved to get up tomorrow with resolve to help make this a better world for my son.