Here are excerpts from the message President Ralph Kuncl sent to the University of Redlands community today in wake of the tragic news coming out of Las Vegas.
Barely a year has passed since I wrote to the community about the worst mass shooting in the history of our country: 49 dead and more than 50 wounded in an attack on a gay night club in Orlando, Florida, June 12, 2016. Last night, last year’s “record” fell, with an event that has struck closer to home in every way.
No one in our community was harmed in the Orlando event, and it was far from the U of R, physically. But emotionally, we felt no distance. We empathized with the individuals and families who were affected. We were angered by the latest evidence of a fundamental loss of security and safety in our world. And we marveled at our seeming inability as a nation and a people to mitigate the flow of deadly weapons to those who would use them against the innocent – from first-graders and their teachers in Connecticut, to the night clubbers in Florida, Bible students in South Carolina, county employees celebrating the holidays in San Bernardino, and, now, carefree concert-goers in Nevada.
We might well ask ourselves, when will it end? To quote an opinion piece just published in The New York Times, “…the scale is staggering. Since 1970, more Americans have died from guns (including suicide, murders and accidents) than the sum total of all the Americans who died in all the wars in American history, back to the American Revolution.”
As I write today, while a nation is shocked or grieving, the number killed at the music festival on the Las Vegas strip is 58, with more than 500 injured. While it appears that no one in our community was killed or injured, many have been affected. A friend of a staff member was killed; a student’s parent was shot and is being cared for; friends of others had to take shelter, were injured, or saw people near them shot; some of our students were in the area and are shaken; and those close to a Redlands first-responder who was in the area are concerned about his welfare.
In accordance with the White House’s order, the University of Redlands’ flag will fly at half-mast through Friday. Today we will be thinking about the tragedy in Las Vegas, even as we continue to remember the many millions continuing to suffer from the devastating hurricanes and earthquakes of recent weeks.
The president's communication also pointed students and employees to the following resources:
- Student Counseling Center, which can be reached at 909-748-8108 or by stopping by the Center on the first floor of Armacost; walk-in hours are available Tuesday, Oct. 3 from 12 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Employee Assistance Program, which is available 24/7 as a free benefit for employees by calling 866-799-2728 or visiting www.HealthAdvocate.com/members
- The Grief Group, which meets on Thursdays at 4:00 p.m.; students and employees are welcome