• October 20, 2019

OUR VIEW: Odessa will heal and rise again - Odessa American: Our Opinion

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OUR VIEW: Odessa will heal and rise again

THE POINT: Thank a first responder and hug your family members just a little longer in wake of the day that tragedy came to Odessa.

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Posted: Sunday, September 8, 2019 4:00 am

Odessans have rallied, as we knew they would, around the families affected by the horrific shooting spree in Odessa on Aug. 31.

Seven people are dead and 25 others injured after a madman took to the streets of Odessa shooting at random people before law enforcement shot him to death near Cinergy Theatre.

It is difficult to fathom the events even a week removed from them. How anyone could set out to harm random people, including children, is almost beyond our comprehension.

Covering the news is tough work. It’s often work that is not appreciated or is jeered about. We become cynical and hard and don’t stop often enough to reflect on what is happening around us.

We stopped on Saturday, Aug. 31.

The Odessa American had (just the day before the shootings) moved into a new office and most of us were not planning to even unpack that weekend. Instead, like all of you, we were bowled over at the carnage inflicted by a madman on our city.

Our new office is at the corner of Eighth and Grant on the eighth floor and has an impressive view north over the city. Many of us looked out those windows that night at almost empty streets that otherwise would have been bustling with traffic.

Most of Odessa appeared to be still.

The shock of a mass shooting happening in our city seemed to be settling over all of us. We all know that Odessa will never be the same.

How could Odessa ever be the same?

We’ve grown used to bad news in our city from economic ups and downs to scandals to being named “most dangerous” this or that on various national lists.

But this is different. This is a heartbreak that will stay with most of us for the rest of our lives. The innocent lives taken away and the devastation and fear that came to town on Aug. 31 will never really go away.

But we have hope. We see the fundraisers for the victims and their families being supported by generous donors from Odessa and the rest of the country. That is hope.

There is hope in the small gestures: a visiting football team from El Paso bringing a banner of support or a lemonade stand in Midland raising funds. So many Odessa individuals and businesses are opening their hearts and their pocketbooks to help others and that also gives us hope.

Seeing first responders treated with the respect they deserve for putting their lives on the line every day gives us hope. How could anyone deny these brave folks a heartfelt thanks after watching the terrible videos from that dark day.

Remember, they ran toward the danger and saved lives that day while the rest of us sought to get away from the danger. But we have hope for this community with the gestures of support from anonymous kind notes left on patrol cars to pallets of water delivered to law enforcement. Odessans are thankful.

There’s hope. As the fallen victims are laid to rest and the injured are released from the hospital, hold on to the hope that Odessa will continue to rise together.

Treat someone a little kinder. Thank a first responder or medical professional and keep this hope alive in our city.

#westtexasstrong

Odessa, TX

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