After a mass shooting during a country music concert in Las Vegas left dozens dead and hundreds more injured, the community is left to come together to make sense of the tragedy.
Marcus Lavergne is a Las Vegas native and former student reporter at KUNR, who now is a reporter and producer for Lotus Broadcasting in Las Vegas. Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick spoke with Lavergne over the phone to discuss the sentiment of the city, and how people are working to come together.
KUNR: Can you just tell me a little bit about the sentiment and the feeling that you’re seeing and hearing from folks?
Lavergne: Everybody’s really disturbed about this and on social media, people are saddened, heartbroken. There were a lot of messages about, ‘So and so is at this place. Have you heard from them?’ and people talking about their family members and friends who work for Metro, who was so proactive in trying to really contain this whole thing.
I’d say a lot of people are really just very sad. In Vegas it’s so strange, because the city is usually so jubilant and the energy’s always flowing. And it feels like time is standing still.
Tell me a little bit about the city itself. Vegas is a tourist destination. What’s going on right now, and how’s the city coming together?
I say it all the time that Vegas is a city that always pushes its limits. We have an NHL franchise here now, and the Oakland Raiders are looking to come here. It’s always changing, always transient, but it just seems like people are very distraught about and concerned about the future of this city. And that’s just something you don’t see with Vegas.
What are you hearing from folks, Marcus? What are people who live in Las Vegas, what are they saying? How are they feeling after this tragedy?
I haven’t seen anybody on my feed that’s lost someone close to them, although there have been a lot of retweets from victims that were in hospitals. But mainly, a lot of calls to action, people addressing the blood donation situation, and there have been GoFundMe’s set up for the victims and their families. People passing information along, it’s a lot of ‘OK, let’s see what we can do to help out. What information is correct?’
There’s a lot of fact-checking going on, a lot of empathy going on for people that may be involved, may have been victims, a lot of messages talking about ‘Don’t show video and photos of victims’ faces.’ And maybe that’s just what Las Vegas’ community is about in the end, is a lot of caring and compassion.
Although it might seem like the city is really racy, people are just passing through it, I think that the community is really standing strong.
You’re someone who grew up in Las Vegas. What’s something about this city that maybe many people don’t know about?
You know what? I think for me, you just see how many people want to help you get to whatever destination you’re trying to get to after high school. Our community is really closely knit together. People are caring here, people want to see people from Vegas do well, they want to see people from Vegas go out and represent the city in the real world and be successful, because in the end, this place is truly a booming community where people are striving to do all types of things. So it’s very supportive here.
I just want people to focus on getting the information, making sure their friends and family are ok, and not trying too hard to rationalize what happened. Because I think a lot of people try to do that in these instances. There’s a lot of ‘Why?’ or ‘How could this happen in our city?’ But just remember that coming together and really showing the world in this instant how strong the community of Las Vegas is, I think that’s the important part.