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Be thankful that Las Vegas shooting wasn’t worse

Updated November 22, 2017 - 7:08 am

Thankfully, more people didn’t die. Thankfully, more people weren’t injured.

The Oct. 1 shooting could have been worse — far worse.

Inside the shooter’s car, parked at Mandalay Bay, police found 50 pounds of the explosive compound Tannerite and an unknown quantity of ammonium nitrate. Consider the potential damage if he had put that material to use.

Thankfully, there were police and firefighters and EMTs who rushed toward the massacre to help.

Thankfully, there were individuals who jumped to save their loved ones, and others who put themselves in danger to save strangers in need.

Tears just came to my eyes thinking of the countless acts of heroism, many chronicled by the news media. Other selfless acts probably will never be known.

Think of the personnel in 17 medical facilities who saved lives. We were told of waiting patients who urged health care workers to help others who were more seriously hurt.

Thankfully, there are photographers and reporters who have tried their best to tell the entire story of the Oct. 1 massacre. And people who spontaneously created memorials to honor others.

My tears also pour out thinking of the first Thanksgiving that families and friends will have without the 58 loved ones who died in the shooting. Their lives are forever changed, but this Thanksgiving and the entire holiday season will be particularly challenging. Some are struggling with finances as well as grief. Some of the 546 wounded are still fighting to regain their health or learning to live with injuries that cannot be repaired.

Many others in the crowd of 22,000 survived without physical wounds but can’t erase the horror. Two teenage girls forced to climb over bodies to escape come to mind. How does anyone blank out the memories of what they saw that night? Maybe counseling will help. Maybe.

Think of all the people who just wanted to hear some country music and have a little fun at the Route 91 Harvest festival and found themselves targeted by a gunman shooting out of his 32nd-floor Mandalay Bay suite. For 10 minutes, starting at 10:05 p.m., he shot without mercy. Then he apparently shot himself.

We still don’t know why — perhaps we never will — but what he did had to be based in hatred of something. Maybe self, maybe others, maybe a business, maybe an institution.

To carefully plan a murderous attack upon complete strangers is horror beyond belief.

What I am not celebrating this Thanksgiving: the damn scammers who tried to make money off tragedy by establishing phony accounts and preying on acts of kindness from people who might have been short on money themselves, yet donated money. Even as journalists tried to shine a light on these cockroaches, scams surely continue.

If the massacre didn’t touch you in some way, celebrate your good fortune.

If you are one of the police, firefighters or EMTs who must work Thanksgiving, whether you were involved in the Oct. 1 tragedy or not, you are valued. First responders and the news media must always work the holidays, even when they’d rather not. They do their jobs.

Everyone who works Thanksgiving in order to be prepared to respond to dangers, large or small, deserves everyone’s thanks on what hopefully will be a day of peace.

Jane Ann Morrison’s column moves from Thursday to the Sunday Nevada section starting Dec. 3. Contact her at jane@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0275. Follow @janeannmorrison on Twitter.

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