Editorial: Remembering Sandy Casey

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From all accounts — former teachers, her fiance and the families of her special education students in Manhattan Beach, Calif. — Sandy Casey was a truly special and gifted young woman with much to offer our world. The native of East Dorset and Burr and Burton Academy graduate earned degrees at the College of Saint Joseph in Rutland and Assumption College, then pursued a career in special education in Manhattan Beach. She was 35 years old and engaged to be married. Her basketball coaches at BBA loved her positive attitude and teamwork. Her teachers remembered her fondly and spoke of her spirit, energy and enthusiasm. Her school superintendent in California called her "a spectacular teacher who devoted her life to helping some of our most needy students." Her family has deep roots in our community, and many say her character was a testament to the family's values. Last Sunday, Sandy Casey lost her life in one of the worst mass shootings in American history, at a concert in Las Vegas. It's horribly unfair and wrong. It fills us with grief and anger. It's heartbreaking, and no consolation at all, to realize that as of this writing, so many other communities and neighborhoods are feeling the same feelings as they mourn loss of men and women just like Sandy Casey. They are men and women who had families and loved ones, special and unique talents to share and lives ahead of them to be lived. Adrian Murfitt was a commercial fisherman from Anchorage. Charleston Hartfield was a 34-year-old Las Vegas police officer. Jessica Klymchuk was a single mother of four children from Edmonton, Alberta, who was at the concert with her fiance. Lisa Romero was a 48-year-old mother and grandmother who worked as a school secretary in New Mexico. Quinton Robbins was 20-year-old college student at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.We mourn their passings as we grieve our own loss. And we are left with an uncomfortable question with no easy answers: Why? There have been so many mass shootings in the United States that many of us, over time, have grown numb to them, or compartmentalized them. It's not a lack of human decency, or a rationalizing of random violence as a new normal; instead, it's a defense mechanism against post-traumatic stress, so we can function in the face of unfathomable human suffering. Ask any Connecticut resident how they learned to cope in the wake of Sandy Hook, and they'll tell you as much. But now we are confronted with it directly, and it hurts. We're looking for something we can do to fill the void in our hearts.For now, what we can do is help each other and support friends and neighbors who are hurting. We can reach out to other communities that lost loved ones and find common ground in our shared humanity. And we can listen. We may not have the answers, but we have each other. To the Casey family, and to Sandy's friends and loved ones, we offer our sincerest condolences and deepest sympathies.


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