She carried white roses.
On a brilliant October afternoon, Nancy Pelosi, one of the most prominent Democrats in the nation---paid a visit to Las Vegas’ Healing Garden. It was created downtown in the wake of our tragedy.
Later, she told me why it was so important she be here today.
“To be in solidarity with those who have lost their loved ones. Hopefully, it's a comfort to them that so many people mourn their loss,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi arrived 16 days after the worst massacre in the nation happened several miles away from where she was standing. A gunman, perched in a suite at Mandalay Bay, opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest festival, killing at least 58 and wounding more than 500.
It's the latest mass shooting and America follows its script: grief, and then outrage.
In the wake of the shooting, Democrats -including our local representatives are backing tougher gun laws.
"Do they have momentum?" I asked Pelosi.
“Public sentiment is everything. Abraham Lincoln said that. Public sentiment is what's going to make the difference. Things are changing in that regard,” Pelosi said.
The Councilman, Las Vegas’ Bob Coffin, said he’s frustrated the city can’t take action against guns on its own.
“The state legislature preempted us three years ago from acting at the local level,” Coffin said, adding, “and there are federal preemptions, but it means I can’t get an ordinance introduced to make any changes.”
Besides Coffin, Pelosi was accompanied by 4th District Congressman Ruben Kihuen, D-Nevada, serving his freshman term in Washington.
He says Las Vegas is proof gun laws must change.
“We saw that happen in Aurora, in Littleton, in Orlando, now here in Las Vegas. I think it's time we stop talking about this and take action,” Kihuen said.
Gun rights supporters have shown a willingness to back tougher regulation against bump stocks, the accessory the gunman used to turn a semi-automatic weapon into a machine gun. But the gun community says America should enforce the gun laws on the books, and that the final responsibility rests with the gunman, not the weapon.
That, however, will be a political debate for another day.
Watching today was architect Jay Pleggenkuhle, who designed the garden. I asked him the message he hopes Pelosi takes away from this place of healing.
“What can we do as a community? In light of great tragedy is how people can pull together and create something beautiful,” he told me.
After her visit to The Healing Garden, Pelosi visited UMC, one of the many hospitals in the valley who swung into action that night. She thanked the trauma doctors and nurses for keeping so many people alive.