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South Williamsport, PA
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Helplessness

Helplessness. An inability to defend yourself or act effectively. The moment in a person’s life when they are watching their world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly. The feeling when you truly want to help, but there is nothing that you can do. In Las Vegas, on October 1, 2017, at

Helplessness. An inability to defend yourself or act effectively. The moment in a person’s life when they are watching their world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly. The feeling when you truly want to help, but there is nothing that you can do. In Las Vegas, on October 1, 2017, at approximately 10:08 P.M. helplessness was in the air. A gunman aimlessly shot into a crowd of about 22,000 people from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Casino. For 10 to 15 minutes the gunshots continuously were being fired. And at that moment, hundreds of helpless people were being injured by that one gun, and some, unfortunately, took their last breath. When I heard about this on Monday morning on the radio on the way to school, my heart fell right out of my chest. My body quickly filled up with sadness, confusion, and anxiety. I just cannot grasp the idea of how one human being can fathom to do such a thing. I just kept thinking how unfair it was. My mind quickly moved to who the situation was truly unfair to – the families of the helpless people who were killed.

The daughters who will no longer have their moms to help them get ready for their senior prom, and the daughters who will no longer have their dads to walk them down the aisle on their wedding day.

The parents who lost their children – who will never get the opportunity to raise their grandchildren.

The young people who died, who will never get the opportunity to receive their college diploma or live the rest of their lives with their soulmate.

The police enforcement who died who spend hours upon hours every week trying to make their communities a safer place, and who work unconditionally for their families.

The veterans or active service members who died that spent the majority of their lives fighting for the safety of our country and our freedom.

The husbands who died trying to shield themselves in front of their wives to keep them safe, because that is what is done when you love someone.

This speech is for them.

This speech is for all of the helpless people who showed up to the concert that night in the hope of some good music and an unforgettable memory.

Instead, their night ended up in horror.

I want to keep believing that there is a lot more good in this country than bad, but every day it gets harder and harder.

It gets harder and harder for me to believe that we live in a country that is truly safe because there have been 273 mass shootings to date so far in 2017.

In 2016, there were 483 documented. In a harsh way to put it, mass shootings have become normalized in our country.

It is unacceptable and frightening.

Something has got to change. We cannot keep letting innocent, helpless people die.

The uncomfortable conversations that go hand-in-hand with these events need to be talked about. We cannot keep ignoring them and pushing them on the back burner.

I recently read this comment on Facebook the other day in spite of the shooting in Las Vegas. It was from a woman named Koren Jackman, and it read, “I met two girls in the alleyway to the monorail at the SLS Las Vegas stop. You had beer coozies in your back pockets and were headed to the show. We chatted for about 15 minutes. You were both 23 and I can’t stop thinking and praying if you are ok. I was the chick on the bench with the BB8 backpack and Pacman hand tattoo, one you sweet girls kept asking me about. I pray you are ok. I don’t expect to get a response but I just really, really hope that you girls are ok, you were so sweet and full of life. It breaks my heart thinking about what you went through. Please let you be okay.”

I am going to be honest with you all; this comment made me start to cry uncontrollably.

However, this is the kind of comment that gives me hope for this country.

It reassures me that a sense of basic compassion has not fully died yet.

It reminds me that a kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.

It reminds me that the true purpose of human life is to serve, show compassion, and the will to help others.

It reminds me that we live in a world where we can be anything, so we have no reason not to be kind.

It reminds me that the only way we as a country can move on from this tragedy is to lift each other up.

It reminds me that kindness is the noblest weapon we can conquer with, and we cannot let a man with a gun detract from that.

It reminds me that even though we cannot control the actions of other people, but we can control our reactions.

As I look around at all of you right now, I need you all to understand something that is highly important. We have a voice. Even though we are only 17 and 18, we have a voice. Understand that we are the upcoming leaders of this hectic world, our actions could potentially touch the lives of thousands of others.

We can be the ones to make these changes happen.

We can be the ones to provide a sense of compassion throughout the world that no one was ever experienced before.

With every good thing, we do for others, and every kind word said, we give our future hope.

By Alexis Samspon
Loyalsock Township High School

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