As published in Sojourners
It is gut-wrenching to look at their faces — 58 of them. They were young, old, men, women, single, married, parents, and grandparents. From all over the country and from Canada, they had one thing in common: they were fans of country music. One year ago, on Oct. 1, they made their way to an open field in Las Vegas where, in the midst of their revelry, they were plunged into terror and cut down by bullets — more than 1100 — fired from 32 stories above their heads.
Jack Beaton, there to celebrate a 23rd anniversary, shielded his wife Laurie with his own body atop hers and bled to death after telling her he loved her. Charleston Hartfield, a police officer and Army National Guard reservist was off-duty and escorting people to safety when he was killed. Andrea Castilla was enjoying her 28th birthday with her sister when a round cut short her life. And on it goes 55 more times. Four hundred and thirteen others could have met the same fate but survived with varying degrees of injuries and wounds. It was the worst mass shooting in American history.