After mass shooting, Las Vegas seeks healing

Above, some of the 58 white crosses for the victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas Strip on October 1. Stephen Paddock killed at least 58 people and injured more than 450 after he opened fire on a large crowd at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival. (AFP)
Updated 07 October 2017
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After mass shooting, Las Vegas seeks healing

LAS VEGAS: Far from the Las Vegas Strip and its flashy hotels, a small healing park opened Friday in the north of Las Vegas, as communities shaken by Sunday’s horrific mass shooting join together to grieve.
One of its creators, landscape architect Mark Hamalmann, said it is a “remembrance garden,” featuring 58 trees planted along a small paved walkway. In the middle, there is a large oak tree representing the “tree of life,” while American flags adorn a wooden fence.
“Everything here is donated by local companies, everyone here is a volunteer, and it’s just amazing how it’s come together,” Hamalmann, who oversaw the garden’s construction, told AFP.
In the healing park, he explained, everyone is welcome to walk, sit and reflect on the benches, or leave messages on a wall of remembrance.
And there is little doubt healing is what Las Vegas needs.
Fifty-eight people died and nearly 500 were injured when 64-year-old Stephen Paddock opened fire on an outdoor country music festival — an act that investigators are still at a loss to explain — before taking his own life.
Since the shooting, “I can’t sleep. I think probably the adrenaline is still running and I can’t wrap my brain around what I saw,” said Dori McKendry, a driver for rideshare startup Lyft.
McKendry was parked in front of the Mandalay Bay hotel Sunday night when Paddock started shooting from his 32nd-floor room.
Admitting she currently has a “mental and emotional feeling of insanity,” McKendry said she has offered free rides to victims’ families to help process what happened.
Thomas Fadden, who survived what was the deadliest shooting in recent US history, said it was scary “not to know who your neighbor could be.”
Paddock, a retired accountant and high stakes gambler, lived quietly in the small town of Mesquite, Nevada, north of Las Vegas. His neighbors, his family and even his girlfriend said they had no clue about what he was about to do.
Several clinics in Las Vegas have organized counseling sessions for people struggling since the shooting — including survivors, relatives or simply those suffering from anxiety in the wake of the atrocity.
At the University of Las Vegas (UNLV), a clinic was set up at The Practice, where psychology students are trained.
Some who seek help “want to talk and share,” while others “will feel pretty constricted and not be ready,” director Michelle Paul said, adding it’s important to “provide a sense of security, safety, comfort, basic problem solving,” to disoriented patients.
“What we try to do is work collaboratively with clients and try to figure out for them, what’s going on for them, normalize that, and then also help them come up with some positive coping strategies,” she explained.
For psychologist Daniel Filacora, of private clinic Bridge Counseling, talking about the details of traumatic experiences helps disconnect negative emotions from the event.
“Telling one’s story, especially in such a dramatic event, is important to differentiate between what really happened and the negative emotions attached,” he said.
It is even more important in Las Vegas, a world-famous party hotspot where an attack on a large gathering of 20,000 people is “particularly traumatic,” he added.
“At a community level, we’re obviously more traumatized because it is in our community now,” added Michelle Paul.
As a result, she says, getting life back to normal in Las Vegas will be a “marathon, not a sprint.”


Wife of former Malaysian PM Najib to be questioned by anti-corruption agency

Updated 7 min ago
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Wife of former Malaysian PM Najib to be questioned by anti-corruption agency

  • Rosmah was first questioned in June in connection with the investigation
  • A source familiar with the investigation said Rosmah would be questioned in connection with the 1MDB probe

KUALA LUMPUR: Rosmah Mansor, the wife of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, was summoned on Tuesday for questioning by the anti-graft agency in its multi-billion dollar corruption probe at state fund 1MDB.
It was the second time Rosmah, 66, has been called in by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) since the shock defeat of Najib in the May general election.
Rosmah was first questioned in June in connection with the investigation, which is looking into allegations of corruption and misappropriation in state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Her husband has pleaded not guilty to charges of money laundering, abuse of power and criminal breach of trust.
The former first lady was served with a notice on Tuesday afternoon to appear before MACC the next day, her lawyer K.Kumaraendran said, adding that she was asked to assist with investigations under the anti-money laundering act.
A source familiar with the investigation said Rosmah would be questioned in connection with the 1MDB probe.
After filing fresh charges against Najib last week, Azam Baki, the deputy commissioner of the anti-graft agency, said more charges could be brought against individuals over 1MDB.
When asked if Rosmah could face charges, he said: “I’m not denying that.”
Rosmah’s penchant for designer handbags, watches and jewelry raised eyebrows in Malaysia, with opponents asking how she was able to afford the luxury items on her husband’s government salary.
She has drawn comparisons to Imelda Marcos, who left behind more than 1,200 pairs of shoes when her husband Ferdinand Marcos was ousted as president of the Philippines in 1986.
Najib and Rosmah have both been barred from leaving the country since the former’s election defeat, and their home and other properties linked to them have been searched by the police as part of the 1MDB investigations.
The haul seized from the properties included 567 handbags, 423 watches and 12,000 pieces of jewelry.
Najib has said most of the seized items were gifts given to his wife and daughter and had nothing to do with 1MDB.
The US Department of Justice has alleged more than $4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB and that about $680 million ended up in Najib’s personal bank account. Najib has denied any wrongdoing.