It is time once again to praise the work of first responders; this time those immediately present on the scene of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, who helped people escape the terror of the moment and tended physical wounds that will inevitably leave emotional ones, which are much, much slower to heal.
They need to hear our words of affirmation for their bravery. But they also need to hear our praise for their innate sense of compassion that overruled a more common inclination for self-preservation. Compassion is a rare virtue these days, which only seems to gain an appropriate celebrity when there is a disaster to contend with, whether it be an act of God or the act of another type of loner with a god-like need to dispense death where life is in evidence as well as in abundance.
My hippie upbringing puts me in mind of Melanie Safka’s song Beautiful People as setting the right tone for the occasion. We hear too much that is hateful, spiteful and just as vindictive as any caliber of bullet fired on the innocent and unprotected. An awareness that people we don’t know may become the most important and most beautiful people in our lives at any given horrific moment is cause for praising those saviors caught up in a merciless encounter, be they trained for the task or just some chump whose knee-jerk reaction to an unexpected event became unexpectedly heroic.
We should weep for those whose lives were cut short, console the ones whose loss will confine them to an unremitting need to mourn, and honor those who were in the wrong place at the right time to do the most magnanimous thing, risking a life to save one.