Last year, with the grief and shock of the mass Las Vegas shooting still fresh and raw, mom and writer Whitney Fleming sat down to write these words on her Facebook page for her blog, Playdates on Fridays. Thinking about what she would tell her three daughters about the tragedy, she said,
There are no safe places anymore. Not our schools or churches. Not concerts or malls. Not airplanes or subways. Sometimes the monsters even lurk within the confines of our homes.
There’s no safe places anymore, which is every parents’ worst nightmare.
And while I am grief-stricken for the tragic events that occurred in Las Vegas last night while I lay peacefully sleeping in my bed, while I am grief stricken and filled with rage and nauseous with the weight of how many lives this impacted, I am not shocked.
In the coming days, there will be an incessant need to validate viewpoints on gun control. There will be references to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers. There will be finger pointing at the NRA and the lack of support for the mentally ill in our country.
We won’t agree, so nothing will change.
So, I am not shocked that the deadliest mass shooting in our country happened last night, and I won’t be shocked when it happens again — because it will.
Instead, I will go over — again — what my children should do if they ever encounter gunfire. I will explain to them when they should run, when they should hide, and when they should remain silent. I will prepare them for this world and pray they will never need to use the information.
Photo: Facebook, Playdates on Fridays
I will tell them to look for the helpers, because they are always there. I will hope they remember my tips to guide them to safety. And I will encourage them to be kind to everyone they meet, because you never know the heartache they are carrying. If only we could clearly see and know how to help those among us that are most damaged inside before they unleash their pain on others.
There are no safe places anymore, and as we release our kids out into the world, oftentimes we won’t be there to lay over their bodies, protecting them from gunfire.
All we can control is our own behaviors, the love we have for others and the hope we can still find in our hearts.
And when we don’t know what to do, when senseless acts of violence rattle us to our core, when the world seems to come unhinged, the only thing we can do is try to do good.
Do something — anything — good today. Do it for someone you don’t know. Do it for someone you dislike. Do it for someone because maybe, just maybe, it will stop them from hurting someone else.
Because there are no more safe places, but we’re all still in this life together.
Whitney’s powerful words were picked up by several news outlets, but she also got one strange request from a dance team coach from Eastview High School near Minneapolis asking if she could use Whitney’s words in a dance routine, of all things. Whitney said “of course,” just asking to please see the finished product, and then she kind of forgot about it.
Until she got an email today, with this video in it.
Eastview High School’s dance interpretation of Whitney’s words left her “sobbing like a baby” she says, and it gave me SERIOUS chills. This is the best three minutes of your day, right here, friends. Watch, be awed, and please…go forth and be kind. Because as Whitney said, and as these dancers so beautifully articulated with their bodies…we are ALL in this TOGETHER.