Sentinel Progress

A column of no words

I’ve thought all day about something meaningful to say about Las Vegas, and I’ve got … nothing. No platitudes. No words of wisdom or encouragement, no words of hope, no words of comfort.

I am at a complete loss.

And although I have an abundance of sympathy for the families and friends who lost loved ones, I have no words to make them feel better — such words don’t exist. As vast and as expressive as the English language can be, there are no words for this. We are limited in our linguistic capabilities when it comes to raw, heartfelt emotion.

No words in print could ever possibly adequately convey the depths of despair the human heart is capable of feeling. Likewise, it can never fully reveal the capability of a heart’s cruelty.

What can possess a person to carry out actions like that which were witnessed on Sunday night, I will never know.

Like I said, no words.

What makes an individual believe that somehow firing a gun into a crowd of strangers is the way to solve something — I just … I can’t. I can’t wrap my head around it.

As a journalist, my instinct is to immediately turn to the “who,” the “what,” the “where” and “why” of a situation, but in this case, even the answers reveal no clues.

Who? We know who. His name is plastered on headlines across the country but I refuse to give it further credence by printing it here.

What? Again, we all know what happened. Sadly, it has become a familiar story across America: yet another mass shooting. But as Americans, we have short memories. It wasn’t long ago that we were mourning the last “largest mass shooting in American history.”

Sadly, like the last one, I’m confident this record won’t hold for long.

Where? Well, this time, Vegas. Before that? Which time? Did you mean Tucson, Seal Beach, Aurora, Oak Creek, Brookfield or Newtown?

Or did you mean D.C., Fort Hood, Isla Vista or Charleston?

Perhaps you were referring to Chattanooga, Roseburg, Colorado Springs or San Bernardino. Oh, the last last one? That would be the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, right? Or was there another one in between? Honestly, there’s almost too many to keep track of.

Why? We’ll never know. I’m sure experts in this sort of thing will come up with some kind of twisted motive — but it won’t matter. Not to those who fell under the hail of bullets and not to their loved ones left to deal with an unspeakable loss.

The bottom line? Americans love their guns and there’s apparently no line we can cross to bring an ounce of hesitation into that particular conversation.

Hell, the very next day after the Vegas shooting story broke, the Post and Courier ran a story about Sen. Jeff Duncan wanting to roll back restrictions on silencers for weapons.

Seriously, hours later — the death toll hadn’t even been finalized yet.

This is what we have chosen to accept. This is our new reality as Americans. We are a country where you can’t go to a movie theater, a church, a concert, a college campus or even an elementary school with out the very real possibility of being gunned down at the whim of a madman.

All we can do now is pray for the victims, pray for their families and anxiously await the next “worst shooting in American history.”

I want to scream during your moment of silence.


Strickly Speaking

Kasie Strickland

Kasie Strickland is a staff writer for The Sentinel-Progress and can be reached at Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not necessarily represent the newspaper’s opinion.