The tragedy in Las Vegas is affecting the entire country.
It is especially hitting home for a Quinnipiac University professor who grew up in Las Vegas and learned that one of her former students is among the hundreds of casualties.
The horrific sights and sounds from Las Vegas stir powerful emotions in all of us.
Cindy Kern felt overwhelming helplessness.
“I am 3,000 miles away from my community that I love so much. What can I do?” she asked.
Kern lived in the Las Vegas area nearly her entire life before moving to Connecticut in 2013 to teach at Quinnipiac University.
She woke up Monday morning, and her heart was with her old hometown.
“This didn't just happen to Las Vegas, this happened to the United States of America. This happened to our world,” Kern said.
Fortunately, her family members are all okay, but a friend, who is also a former student, was shot in the chest.
“Always a smile on his face just a wonderful human being,” she said.
Right now, he's lying in a hospital bed among the hundreds of wounded.
“When you see an individual, who is in critical condition and you're hoping that they pull through, and when they do pull through the amount of love and compassion and help that they'll need in order to process everything that happened to them that's a lifetime of healing,” Kern said.
At some point on Monday, Kern refused to feel helpless any longer. She does not want to politicize the murders but she is urging others to be willing to discuss difficult topics that may have played a role in the tragedy.
“We have to have conversations, and we have to get outside our echo chamber we have to talk with people and listen and be compassionate, and be empathetic,” Kern said.
She works as the director of Quinnipiac’s Science and Learning Center and believes we'll never solve America’s problems if we don't open an honest dialogue. She feels we owe it to her friend and all the victims to try.
“We are a divided nation we are polarized and we have to start this communication,” she added.
Kern didn’t want to identify her friend because his family wants privacy.
She also plans to donate money and blood to help Las Vegas and hopes others will do the same.
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