It is with a heavy heart that I veer from my regular topic of “leadership” as I reflect on what has happened in my home town of Las Vegas, Nevada.

     The unthinkable, despicable and downright hateful and misguided act of one individual which can only be described as horrific, has affected and changed the lives of thousands of people directly and millions of people indirectly.  With 58 killed and hundreds of others shot and/or otherwise wounded, this became the worst mass shooting on American soil in modern history.

     While the experts will turn every stone, in an effort, to figure out the why, the how and what could have possibly been done to prevent this, the rest of us mourn and wonder what could have been.   

     Sometimes, in life, there is no clear answer or apparent reason for the actions of a crazed individual or group. While the shock, outrage, and sorrow for what has transpired seems too much to bear, the human spirit has a natural way of bringing people together in times like these.  

     The experts will develop the best strategies which can be reasonably implemented to curb this type of incident in the future and most of us recognize that there is no way to make everyone and everyplace safe, all the time.  

     This is where the concept of #VegasStrong is born.  This could just as easily be #AmericaStrong.  The statement means that “you can’t knock us down” and “we are a team” and “you are making is stronger” and perhaps mostly, “you will not stop us from living” and “we will not live in fear.”

     The statement today is about Las Vegas because this horrific act took place at a Jason Aldean concert as a part of the Route 91 Harvest Festival, but, it could have happened anywhere. 

     A huge shout out to all the first responders and a huge shout out to all those men and women who were not on duty as first responders, but rather just one of the concert goers, who suddenly found themselves in the role of a first responder.  These folks stepped up and acted with character, saving lives, protecting people and in some cases, giving their own lives to save others.  These scenarios unfold and take place in the blink of an eye. It’s only when we have the time to assess what has happened, after the fact, that we learn the deep story of the human spirit and who the unspoken heroes were on that fateful evening.    

     Speaking to all the families that lost a loved one that evening, we are so very sorry for your loss and know that no words can possibly bring you comfort in your grief.

     Speaking to the Las Vegas Metropolitan police department, thank you for sending hundreds of officers to the scene the minute you became aware. To the off-duty offices who heard the calls on the radio, thank you for rushing to the scene, even though you were off. 

     To the firefighters and paramedics, thank you for working fast and all through the night to care for over 500 people.  To the uber and cab drivers that became carriers taking people to the hospitals, thank you.  

     To Mandalay Bay security guard, Jesus Compos, and others thank you for quickly identifying the floor and position of the shooter. This may have put pressure on him and saved hundreds or thousands of lives.

     To the FBI, thank you for your hard work and resources in piecing this all together so that we and the world will understand, as best we can, what the hell happened.

     Thank you to the American people and those worldwide who have displayed #VegasStrong in your cities and on social media your posts.

      We are a loving and giving community who has come together in the wake of tragedy.  As a community, we thank America and the world for your love and support.  We are #VegasStrong.