The Christian Science Monitor

After Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas grapples with how to heal together

It took Christopher Mendoza a full week to confront his feelings about the mass shooting at the Mandalay Bay hotel that killed 59 people on Oct. 1. Mr. Mendoza, who counsels HIV-positive individuals at the Community Counseling Center of Southern Nevada, says he focused on his clients' needs rather than his own in the days following the tragedy. 'It still gets me shaky, just talking about it,' Mendoza says on Oct. 20 at the Community Counseling facility in Las Vegas. 'We’re all still working through it.' Source: Jessica Mendoza/Christian Science Monitor

For a week after the shooting, Christopher Mendoza thought he was fine.

A wellness counselor for HIV-positive individuals at a Las Vegas nonprofit, Mr. Mendoza focused on his clients’ needs in the days following the Oct. 1 tragedy, when Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd attending a concert outside Mandalay Bay. “Everyone that walked through my door client-wise needed to talk and just unload,” Mendoza says. “I tried just giving them positive thoughts: ‘It’s OK to leave your house. You're safe. This is your home. Do not be afraid.’

“I don’t think I believed it myself.”

That became clear the Saturday after the shooting, when Mendoza found himself yelling at a stranger at a local bar. The man had made some flippant comment about the event, he recalls. “I kind of blew up on him,” says Mendoza, who left the bar in tears. “I guess

Coming together after tragedyCreating a 'trauma-informed community'Opportunity for change

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