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Heller commemorates Oct. 1 in Senate speech

Humberto Sanchez
Humberto Sanchez
CongressGovernmentIndyBlogOctober 1
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In a speech Wednesday, Sen. Dean Heller lauded emergency responders and the selfless acts of bravery displayed by survivors of the Oct. 1 shooting in Las Vegas that took 58 lives and injured more than 850.

“Our community is still grieving and it will never be the same, but hatred and fear did not win that night,” Heller said on the Senate floor. “That is because even though one man’s horrific actions exposed humanity at its worst, what followed were countless stories of true heroism and humanity at its best.”

On that fateful night, a gunman, Stephen Paddock, opened fire from a 32nd-floor window of the Mandalay Bay into the Route 91 Harvest music festival. It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, the carnage the result of 1,100 rounds discharged.

Heller, a Republican, highlighted Terry Winston, a San Diego resident and veteran, who helped several people to safety and turned an abandoned vehicle into a makeshift ambulance, in which he drove between 20 and 30 people to the hospital in two trips.  

“Firefighters, paramedics, and ambulance drivers - who had never encountered anything as horrific as the carnage of October first – plunged into danger to save lives without hesitation even though they were defenseless,” Heller said. “Because that’s just what they do.”

His comments come after the Senate approved Monday a resolution he sponsored with Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto “honoring the memory of the victims of the brutal and senseless attack at a country music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, 1 year ago.”

Heller said he would donate blood on this and every Oct. 1 going forward. He called it a “small gesture” but cited a statement that Red Cross released the night of the incident calling for people to donate blood.

“Last night’s tragedy illustrates that it’s the blood already on the shelves that helps during an emergency,” the Red Cross said on Oct. 2.

The state’s congressional delegation did score a victory following the shooting with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) beginning to take into account tourism and special events when it determines how much cities like Las Vegas receive under the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) grant program.

However, the delegation remains divided down party lines over the issue of gun control.

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