I woke up Monday, October 2, 2017 to the story of the mass shooting in Las Vegas at the Highway 91 Music Festival, in front of the Mandalay Bay Casino. Within the hour, the death toll had risen high enough for the shooting to be dubbed "the worst mass shooting in American history". It was only 4 am here on the West Coast.
As the day went on, I knew I was going to end up writing a blog post about the day's events. So many thoughts and emotions were running through me as I heard people on the radio, and saw the various Facebook posts and tweets from friends, strangers, and celebrities.
I was shocked that this had happened at a country music concert. Even at the rowdiest country music concert, I guess I just wouldn't expect this type of thing to happen.
I was deeply saddened and almost in tears hearing about how many people had died, some while trying to save others from being hurt.
I was happy to hear that the artists who had been performing that night were safe and accounted for. On a local note, I was also happy for the people at the radio station I listen to, 98.7 The Bull, in Portland, Oregon. The station had an intern who was in Vegas for her birthday; she was actually across the street at a Big & Rich show when the shooting began.
The station had also had a contest to win tickets to the Highway 91 Music Festival, and when news of the shooting broke, the station made every effort to find out if the contest winners were alright. They were, and had actually ended up helping other concert goers who had been hurt. You could hear it in the woman's voice, she was still in a bit of shock, as would be expected.
Unfortunately, though a former street team member of the station was also safe, (having flown home early), her brother and his girlfriend had stayed for the last day of the concert. The girl's brother, in an attempt to shield his girlfriend, wound up being shot, though fortunately, he's still alive.
Along with those emotions came anger, not just at what had happened, but people as well. First and foremost, was anger at the shooter. How dare he, for whatever reason he had, take the lives of innocent people, and shatter the lives of those who survived. He didn't know them, so what was the purpose?
Other tinges of anger came out at one of the witnesses. A woman who had been a vendor at the concert at least partially blamed a lack of security for the shooting. I realize the woman was probably still in shock over what had happened, and that the whole story hadn't developed yet, but it still bothered me a bit. This is because the shooter wasn't part of the concert crowd; he was a guest of the hotel, who was shooting from the 32nd floor of the hotel.
There was also some anger at people who accused Jason Aldean of leaving the stage to seek shelter when the rampage started. What was he supposed to do? Stay and possibly get shot also? Tell me one person who wouldn't have done the same thing in that situation.
Another form of anger I have about this is feeling hopeless; not because I feel like I can't do anything to help. No, I feel hopelessness that this world will never be a happy place ever again. This incident isn't the first of it's kind, and I'm pretty sure it won't be the last.
All those emotions, and more are still swirling around inside me, and though this is approximately my fifteenth attempt at writing this post, it's STILL not what I was trying to convey.
Maybe it's because others I know have expressed how I feel, and what I want to say, better than I have.
For example, my friend, Kim Blue, posted this on Facebook:
"How scummy do have to be to blame loss of life on someone who had a spotlight on them up above everyone else on a stage for running for their life when some yells into the ear monitors that there is an active shooter and get off the stage? Which he did to get his very pregnant wife out of harms way. Thats not what I want to say, but my phone will autocorrect that kind of language. Bad reporter!"99.9% of the time, reporters are spot on with their stories. Every once in awhile though, you get someone who does, or says something out of line. I realize, reporters are human too, we all make mistakes, but honestly, this upset me.
My friend, Jake Byron, a DJ at 98.7 The Bull, posted the following on his station blog. When he posted to Facebook, he said he's just being honest, he's not proud of it. I identify completely with what he's written; I just feel deflated after today.
I certainly do.
Admittedly, I’ve been having a tough time lately. There’s just so much wrong with the world, and so much hate & criticism about everything, that I’m just getting weary. I have always prided myself as being somebody who fights for what I believe in, and stands up to what I see as injustice. But I’m straight running out of gas.
The thing is… with this shooter in Las Vegas… there’s no next step. There’s no response worth encouraging, there’s no justice to be found, and there’s no getting back those we lost. This was simply a tragedy, and the best we can do is try to support those left behind, and that’s… it.
I’ve just had it. I could hide my head in the sand, and to be honest, that sounds the most appealing right now.
This is what hate does. It wins. I have such love and respect for those who are preaching the “love conquers all” message this morning. You keep fighting the good fight. But you’ve lost a allied soldier today.
I hope I bounce back.
~Jake from 98.7 The Bullpo
My friend, KD Karin Carroll, posted a great, upbeat, reply to Jake's Facebook post. Thankfully KD is one of those people who's there to try to cheer the rest of us up when we get down:
KD Karin Carroll Kiddo it is how we all feel but hold on to your faith. Do not let the evil win. You cannot stop living because of hate. Keep your joy, love and kindness in tact we all will need this Arsenal nowc 🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿❤️❤️❤️
KD, and others who have posted similar things are right, we can't let evil win. We think it's bad now, imagine what it would be like if evil truly did take over!
For now though, even after writing this post, I'm still as big a bundle of confusion, and raw emotion as I was before I wrote it. They say time heals all wounds. I hope so, not for myself, but for all those in Vegas, and anywhere, that has had to endure such senseless violence. And I'm still left with that burning question, about this happening: Why?