Fordham Responds to Las Vegas Shooting

(Lisa Spiteri/The Observer)

By STEPHAN KOZUB
News Editor

Following the mass shooting in Las Vegas on Monday that left at least 58 people killed and 515 wounded, the Fordham Community has voiced statements of support for the victims and their loved ones.

The first response came on Monday night in an email statement from University President Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., offering support for those affected and calling for “change in our gun laws.”

“Tragedy? Sin? Evil? The words begin to lose their meaning after so many invocations following similar mass murders,” McShane wrote. “Almost five years ago, in the wake of the murder of schoolchildren at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, I wrote that words like horror and tragedy almost lose their meaning in the face of such loss, and that the pain and sorrow of the victims’ families is unimaginable, and must be nearly unendurable. And yet here we find ourselves again confronting the monstrous.”

In response to the terrorist attack, McShane urged members of the Fordham Community to “move beyond outrage, anger and grief to advocacy for change—change in our gun laws.” He also added that they should “engage in the ministry of affirmation in our own lives: console the grieving; comfort the perplexed; embrace the frightened; pray for those who mourn; and enter into solemn covenants to protect the vulnerable.”

Two days after the shooting, the university announced that a Candlelight Vigil for the Victims of the Las Vegas Shooting will take place on both campuses to “honor and remember the lives lost and injured in the Las Vegas shooting.” Lincoln Center’s vigil will take place on Thursday, Oct. 5 at 1:30 p.m. on the Outdoor Plaza. Rose Hill’s vigil will take place on Oct. 4 at 6:30 p.m. on the steps outside the Gymnasium.

The attack was committed by Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old man from Mesquite, Nevada who killed himself before he could be apprehended. It took place at a country music festival at the Mandalay Bay casino, where Jason Aldean was performing. He was not injured in the shooting.

Details have continued to surface about Paddock, such as his use of a special (and also legal) device called a “bump stock” that can make a semi-automatic weapon fire like an automatic weapon. He had also been stockpiling firearms since 1982, according to CBS News, and used cameras to surveil police as they arrived on scene. Paddock’s girlfriend, Marilou Danley, arrived in the U.S. from the Philippines on Tuesday night and is expected to be questioned by federal investigators.

The full text of McShane’s statement is below:

Dear Members of the Fordham Family,

By now you have probably heard about the appalling violence that took place in Las Vegas last night: more than 58 people killed, and more than 500 people wounded. It is already being called one of the worst mass shootings in the country’s history.

I must confess that it is difficult to write about this atrocity in a comprehensible, much less consoling, way. Today dozens of families are grieving their dead; hundreds of wounded are barely hanging on to life or beginning a long road to recovery, and their families are still coping with the shock and fear of it; thousands of survivors are beginning their first day after the worst day of their lives.

Tragedy? Sin? Evil? The words begin to lose their meaning after so many invocations following similar mass murders. Almost five years ago, in the wake of the murder of schoolchildren at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, I wrote that words like horror and tragedy almost lose their meaning in the face of such loss, and that the pain and sorrow of the victims’ families is unimaginable, and must be nearly unendurable. And yet here we find ourselves again confronting the monstrous.

In any case, I am not sure with the news so raw that consolation is what I should be offering—assuming that is even possible. If you are angry, outraged, or grief stricken, I would say that those appropriate reactions to the senseless carnage that occurred in Las Vegas.  I would, however, urge all of us to move beyond outrage, anger and grief to advocacy for change–change in our gun laws.  I would also urge all of us to engage in the ministry of affirmation in our own lives: console the grieving; comfort the perplexed; embrace the frightened; pray for those who mourn; and enter into solemn covenants to protect the vulnerable.  (As Saint Paul says in the Letter to the Romans: ‘Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good’ (Romans 12:21). This, I believe, is the way to confront and overcome evil.

Finally, I know you join me today in keeping the victims, survivors, and their loved ones in your prayers and in your hearts, and in wishing them such peace as they can find in this dark hour.

Sincerely,

Joseph M. McShane, S.J.

 

1 COMMENT

  1. Our oldest of four grandsons started Fordham this semester, and I decided to give $100.00 to Athletics/Men’s Water Polo, over the weekend. Now, I am reading your Fordham Observer. As Detroiters/Michiganders we knew little about Fordham, until our grandson decided to pursue his application as his first college choice. Your newspaper has been very informative and enjoyable this day, Monday, October 23, 2017. Thank you for the connection…Aaron
    45272 Woodleigh Way, Plymouth, Michigan 48170

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