Vargas: Leaders must listen to find solutions in wake of Orlando mass shooting


The feelings associated with the mass killings at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando are still fresh, and the pain is still reverberating through our communities.

There are thousands of family, friends and loved ones of the victims. Their pain will go on for some time.

For the hundreds of first responders who courageously responded to the incident, there will be everything from second-guessing their strategy, to dealing with the sight of dozens of dead victims lying on the floor.

Those memories will last a lifetime.

They are all heroes in my book.

As Americans, we are once again dealing with the lingering angst that our world is much less safe than it was just yesterday.

The number of people killed in mass shootings has exponentially increased in a single incident.

Since the Virginia Tech shooting nine years ago, law enforcement response in these kinds of incidents has been laudable. Brave men and women have put themselves in harm’s way for the sake of others.

The question we all have to ask: “Is this our new normal? How long will the killings go on?”

If you look at the discourse taking place amongst our leaders, within our communities and especially on social media, I am not hopeful there will be any solutions soon.

Problem solving involves listening.

It requires people to sit down and find common ground on which we can develop a solution that will make us all safer. A solution will require respect for all points of views.

I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon.

Our biases and passions have paralyzed our politics. The end result is we are no safer than we were nine years ago after the Virginia Tech mass shooting.

If anything, the shouting at each other has only gotten louder and uglier.

Law enforcement agencies will continue to do the best job they can when responding to mass shooting incidents. When possible, they will try and prevent them.

For the rest of us, the feeling of being less safe in an uncertain world is not paranoia if the threats are real.