The Power of One

I’VE BEEN THINKING

I’ve been thinking all week about the power of one. One moment. One person. One action. Any of these can change your life forever.

It takes one person to fall in love with you to change your whole world around for the better. It also takes just one person with violent intentions to turn your world upside down.

All week long, we have listened and read stories of heartbreak, anguish, and pain about beautiful lives that were cut short. Lives forever altered. Families forever changed. Love stories that will never get their happy endings.

All week long, we have also listened and read stories about individuals who stepped into the line of fire to save someone. Often, these were total strangers who risked their own lives to save another. Individuals like concertgoer Jonathan Smith, who raced to rescue at least 30 people from the scene in Las Vegas. He was struck by two bullets in the process, then had his own life saved by another brave individual, off-duty officer Tom McGrath.

We’ve seen so many stories like this one come out of the tragedy in Las Vegas this week. We’ve also seen so many stories about individuals in the hurricane-ravaged areas of our world who have stepped up to help. We’ve seen stories of everyday people rising to the occasion, just because they care. We’ve seen stories of doctors, nurses and law enforcement officials who have served and protected because that’s who they are, at their core. We’ve even seen our five living ex-presidents unite to plan a hurricane relief benefit set for October 21. (This has given me great hope. Maybe they’ll continue to work together and do something to help out with our nation’s other great challenges, like health care.)

In the last few months, we have been inundated with stories about everything that is wrong with this great country. Yes, as I wrote last week, we do have a lot of work to do. We need to do a better job when it comes to racism and police brutality. We need to do a better job when it comes to our health care. This week, we are reminded that we also need to do a way better job addressing senseless violence and gun control.

Now, before you shake your head at the mere mention of gun control, please pause for one minute. No one wants to live next door to a neighbor who has dozens of assault weapons in their home. No one needs to own a silencer. And, for God’s sake, no one certainly needs to own a bump stock.

That’s not gun control. Those are gun rights out of control. 

So, let’s lay down our arms in this debate for a moment and think. We haven’t made any progress, and our neighbors are dying at the hands of people who have no business having a gun. Do we really want to stand witness to one more tragedy like the one we just watched unfold in Las Vegas?

I know the good men and women of this country don’t want to see this happen again. I also know that the number of Americans who want to put an end to this type of tragedy far outweigh those who are okay with things the way they are. So, think about your voice in this space. Take a moment to think sensibly about what’s going on, and to ask yourself what each of us can be doing to make a difference.

As we work to solve these great challenges of our time, I know that I want to use my voice to keep writing about the overwhelming good that exists in our country. We certainly need to focus more on that.

Today, I won’t mention the name of the man who brought about pain, grief, and unimaginable horror to so many innocent lives. Instead, I will call out the miraculous human beings who stepped up to save others. Those who stood with others so they wouldn’t die alone. Those who are still working around the clock to make sure that the number of fatalities doesn’t increase from 59 to 60, and beyond.

On this day, at this moment, let’s devote ourselves to focusing on the powerful good that is out there showing itself to us day in and day out.

We can each do what we can to keep the light on. Otherwise, we will surely lose hope.

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