It’s a terrifying moment in history when you can go to a country music festival in Las Vegas—or Bastille Day celebrations on a promenade in Nice, or an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England; the list goes tragically on—and have to worry about you or your loved ones coming out alive. In the wake of last night’s mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, 58 people have died and at least 500 more have been injured. (Someone I know was among those who were shot and will survive, thank God—but so many others didn’t.)
Even if you’re fortunate enough not to have been directly impacted by this tragedy, it’s terrifying and heartbreaking to watch the news unfold. And while there’s not a lot we can do right now, there are a few things that can make a big difference—see below for how you can help.
Blood donations are badly needed, especially if you happen to be in the Vegas-area. Try the Las Vegas United Blood Service, or check the tweets below for other places you can give blood:
There’s going to be a big need for physical and mental health assistance: You can donate to organizations like the Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada, who give care to people who don’t otherwise have access to it. Additionally, a local government official in Las Vegas set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to provide relief and financial support to the victims and families—you can help them reach their $2 million goal.
Another helpful thing you can do right now is to be diligent about the information you spread and consume. During disasters, there are a lot of people in such a rush to share news that they’re often sharing it from unverified sources. Try to stick to trusted news outlets. Spreading news that’s not verified can lead to hysteria, especially if related to fears of other attacks. In particular, watch out for crowdsourcing pages. Some will be from legitimate people who need help with medical care or funeral costs, but many others are just trying to profit off a terrible situation.
If you’re looking to locate a missing loved one, here’s a number to call:
Watch this space in the hours and days ahead for more ways you can help those impacted by the tragic Las Vegas shooting.