Much has been reported about Stephen Paddock, the man who orchestrated the Las Vegas Massacre. Paddock assembled an arsenal of weapons and murdered 59 people while injuring over 500. A bright spot in this tragedy is that one of those injured parties has emerged as a hero. Jonathan Smith saved the lives of at least 30 people Sunday night before getting shot himself, but he says that he was only following the Golden Rule.
The 30-year-old father of three was celebrating his brother Louis Rust’s 43rd birthday at the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival. Several members of their family were in attendance. When Paddock launched his assault, Smith and Rust realized that the sounds they were hearing did not come from fireworks. Rust told everyone to hold hands and run, but Smith’s nieces got separated from the group in the chaos that ensued. Smith went back for them and immediately started telling people to run and take cover.
“I got a few people out of there,” Smith said as reported by the Washington Post. “You could hear the shots. It sounded like it was coming from all over Las Vegas Boulevard.”
— Gregory Meriweather (@RadioBlackOn) October 3, 2017
Everything was happening so fast, but Smith kept helping as many people as he could. When he stood up to tell some young girls to get down on the ground to better protect themselves, Smith was shot. Before he could fully realize what had happened, a San Diego off-duty police officer flagged down the driver of a pickup truck who took him to Sunrise Hospital.
Living With A Bullet In His Neck
The 30-year-old copy machine repairman suffered a fractured collarbone, a cracked rib, and a bruised lung. Because of the position of the bullet in his neck, doctors decided not to remove it. Doing so could result in more harm than good.
“I might have to live with this bullet for the rest of my life,” Smith said.
Do Unto Others
But the good news is that in spite of his injuries, unexpected medical bills, the trauma he suffered, and the forced time off from work, Smith is still alive. And the community has rallied around him to raise over $16,000 to help him recover. Smith says that he is no hero, though. He just showed his humanity.
“I don’t see myself that way,” Smith said. “I would want someone to do the same for me. No one deserves to lose a life coming to a country festival.”