Sections

Weather Forecast

Close

'What will it take?': Duluth vigil calls for action in wake of Vegas shooting

1 / 3
Nina Preham (left) of Duluth, Kelli Farell and her son Henry Farell, 5, both of Superior, light candles during a vigil Wednesday at Peace Church in Duluth remembering the victims of the Las Vegas shooting. The vigil was organized by Protect Minnesota. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)2 / 3
Rev. Charlotte Frantz of Duluth speaks during a vigil Wednesday at Peace Church in Duluth remembering the victims of the Las Vegas shooting. The vigil was organized by Protect Minnesota. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)3 / 3

The bell rang again and again as the victims' names were read aloud in a Duluth sanctuary Wednesday night.

Candles were lit. Heroes were praised. Lives were mourned. Action was demanded.

"What will it take to mitigate our nation's cultural romance with this kind of violence?" asked Charlotte Frantz, her voice rising to fill the hall. "It will only be when ordinary citizens like you and me rise up to say enough, enough, enough."

More than 50 people gathered at Peace United Church of Christ on Wednesday in the wake of Sunday's massacre in Las Vegas that left 59 dead and injured more than 500.

The Northland Brady/Protect Minnesota chapter organized the vigil to channel the mourning of a nation, of a community, into political action.

"We need to take that anger and sadness and turn it into action. It can't stop with tonight," said chapter co-president Joan Peterson. "It's only when our voices are as loud as the voices of the gun lobby that something will happen."

The lights at Enger Tower were orange as she spoke, which matches the campaign color for Protect Minnesota. The group looks to stop efforts such as permitless carry and bring disparate groups of Minnesotans together to prevent gun violence.

Duluth Mayor Emily Larson also spoke at the vigil and had asked for Enger Tower to glow orange that night.

"When we see these things happen at a national level and at other places — it can happen here," she said. "There's a lot of room when it comes to policymaking. Policies that support freedom and safety and health and community."

As the candles continued burning and the impromptu congregation slowly dispersed, some may have been thinking about the last vigil held. Or, with heavy hearts, the next one.

"We gathered in this space after Columbine. We gathered in this space after Sandy Hook. We gathered in this space after Pulse," said Frantz, a Peace Church member. "And in our hearts we know we will probably gather here again to name another location where people died needlessly."

Brooks Johnson

Brooks is an investigative/enterprise reporter and business columnist at the Duluth News Tribune.

(218) 723-5329