On Sunday, just hours after U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise told a national audience about his recovery from a mass shooting in June, another, even more horrific mass shooting unfolded in Las Vegas.

In a gambling town that grounds its appeal in the promise of luck, many of the potential victims in the Vegas shooting found themselves alive only because an accident of timing and location allowed them to dodge a mad gunman’s bullets. The death toll in the most recent shooting stood at above 50 on Monday, with more than 500 injured — the worst mass shooting in American history.

Throughout the agony of Monday’s news cycle, we found ourselves returning to Scalise’s words about his June ordeal — and what it says about the fragility of life’s blessings.

“It’s a miracle,” Scalise, a Metairie Republican, told “60 Minutes” about his survival after being shot by a disturbed gunman who had targeted Republican lawmakers during a morning practice for a benefit baseball game.

Scalise took a bullet to his left hip from a high-powered rifle and tried to crawl to safety as the assailant continued to fire. “I prayed, ‘God, don’t let my daughter have to walk up to the altar alone,’” the congressman recalled.

An extraordinary sequence of serendipity helped Scalise survive. Because of his leadership role in the House, he had a security detail that was able to return fire against the shooter, who eventually died. U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup of Ohio, a physician with experience as a combat surgeon, was able to help stabilize Scalise until other medical help arrived. As he was evacuated by medical helicopter, Scalise benefited from a skilled chopper pilot, too. “I flew that bird like I stole it,” the pilot later recalled.

Scalise still has a long way to go in his recovery. But watching him on Sunday, we couldn’t help sharing his sense of how lucky he is to be alive.

A highly trained security detail helped spare Scalise and his fellow lawmakers from death, and we’re happy that those first responders were there.

But sadly, as the horror Las Vegas reminds us, most Americans can’t go about their daily lives with a detachment of police officers to keep them safe. How can we protect average citizens from such carnage?

The answers remain elusive, as Americans again mourn fellow citizens who have lost their lives at the hands of a mass murderer.

Today, we find ourselves instinctively drawn to do what Steve Scalise did as he fought for life on a baseball field last summer. We’re praying a lot this week — hoping, in the face of violence, for the wisdom to understand why such terrible things happen.