Healing a Community

Emotional Recovery for Las Vegas

America’s deadliest mass shooting in modern history made headlines on October 1 after a man opened fire on a crowd of concert goers, killing 59 and wounding 200 more. Across the country mainstream news networks pose the question on many minds, “Why did he do it?” They focus on details of the shooter’s life such as which bank of video poker machines he frequented.

Often overlooked in situations like this are the locals of the area and how such a tragedy has impacted their lives. Tourism is expected to take a short-term dip according to analysts who closely monitor the finances of the city’s casino companies. Stock in main casinos also took a minor hit following the shooting.

More so than the economics, the people in the community have also taken a hit. One of the first responders to the scene, Glen Simpson, an advanced emergency medical technician for Community Ambulance, fears the sickening sounds of death and smell of blood will haunt him forever. He told NBC News, “When I close my eyes, I’m paranoid. It’s been difficult to sleep at night.”

Emotional recovery is just beginning for the doctors, nurses, firefighters, EMTS, and bystanders who witnessed the mass shooting. Some will recover and most will eventually adapt, but for twenty percent, full recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is not guaranteed.

The Las Vegas community has years of recovery in the future. Digital billboards that usually promote restaurants, concerts, and other entertainment now show phone line for victims and their families, as well as words of appreciation for first responders. The traditional slogan “What happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas” has been put on hold around the city.

The hashtag #VegasStrong is sweeping social media as people pour out their support for the victims and all those affected by this tragedy.

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