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From a Family Friend who was in Las Vegas

. 2 min read
Ben is the age of our Caleb, and I remember playing soccer with him at a family picnic. His father was at the time Robin’s boss and colleague in family medicine and HIV/AIDS care in a city clinic. Ben was at the music festival. Please take the time to read his reflections.
October
6, 2017
Five
days ago I was at the Las Vegas festival where a sick man moved by hatred did
something incomprehensible. This man cut the lives of 58 innocent people
short…. Fifty-eight…. he deprived people of their sons and daughters,
moms and dads, friends and loved ones. He also changed the lives of thousands
of others who escaped the atrocities of that night, people who will carry the
physical and emotional scars from this nightmare with them the rest of their
lives.
I
was at the festival, about 30ft from the main stage when the shooting began. My
experience that night will always be there to haunt me. But my loved ones and I
all survived, we were blessed. The love and support from my family, friends,
and people I barely even knew was unparalleled and moving. Even when I feel like
there are so many people who need the thoughts, prayers and support more than
me, I appreciate it, and am grateful for every hug, phone call, and text.
There
is a lot of discussion on what can be changed to save lives in the future. I
don’t know the answer, but I know the answer cannot be “nothing”. I also know
that the society we live in is one of increasingly polarized views, but we need
to remember that love and life are not partisan values, but human values. We
live in a world where it is too easy to simply click a “block button” or an
“unfriend button” to silence opposing views. When we ignore the counter
argument, we isolate with people who are “like us,” and when we isolate,
polarization occurs, change gets deadlocked, and the more we see those with
different views as fundamentally different from us when they aren’t. Hatred and
fear thrive on division, one doesn’t have to take a long walk through history
to see that.

I
challenge you to surround yourself with people who disagree with you. We need
to a have healthy rational debate, where we listen and put in the effort and
patience to understand the counter argument to our beliefs. It’s only then that
we can come to a solution together as a community, country… as a human race.

Some
people will say it is too soon to have debate on what can be done, but for 58
victims and their families, it is regrettably already too late, and if we
continue to the wait, it will be too late for someone else.
There
will never be enough thoughts, prayers, money, or other signs of support to
completely “fix” this, thousands of lives will never be the same. But that
doesn’t mean these things aren’t important. Consider donating to the victims’
fund, so that the families of the victims can grieve and families of the injured
can support their loved ones without having to be distracted and burdened by
medical bills and expenses. https://www.gofundme.com/dr2ks2-las-vegas-victims-fund
If
you can’t donate consider giving blood, show a stranger an act of love today,
or comfort someone who is in pain.
Hate
is powerful, but Love will always win.

Ben
Echterling