First came Hurricane Harvey, killing at least 70 people. Then came Hurricane Irma, killing at least 75. Then came Hurricane Maria, killing at least 16 in Puerto Rico with that number still rising. Now, the Las Vegas Strip shooting has reportedly left more than 50 dead and more than 400 wounded.
Some have attempted to politicize the three hurricanes, and it’s an unfortunate certainty that some will politicize this mass shooting. But, Americans have a choice.
We can and should choose to not listen to voices on either side of the aisle seeking to divide us for their own gain. Instead, we should make it a point to reach out to Americans that are different than us. We should make it a point to go out and enjoy the things we love to do as Americans without fear — going to concerts, fairs, festivals, and religious gatherings. We should embrace other Americans whose families may have come from different backgrounds or who might disagree with our politics.
The more we get to know each other and the more we enjoy each other, the better our nation will be able to prevent and stop future attacks and the more our country will be able to compromise and come together to solve our political problems. Our diversity of thought can unite under American ideals to demonstrate we can disagree on politics or religion or anything else, yet celebrate and honor these differences and the freedoms we have to be who we are.
Before politicos try to politicize responses to natural disasters and before anyone tries to make the Vegas shooting about gun control or terrorism, let’s all make sure our first response is compassion and outreach. Let’s make sure our first thoughts are about the thousands of families who need our support.
That is the American way.