I get up around 4 a.m. these days and this morning the first thing I saw was a breaking news tweet sent to my phone. It reported that two people had died and 20 people were injured in a Las Vegas shooting. I read the link that accompanied the tweet and found out the horrible incident occurred at a country music festival by the Mandalay Bay.
About 20 minutes later as I drove to the new gym I am working out at, the sports talk radio program I was listening to stopped talking about the NFL. Amy Lawerence, the host of the show I was listening to, shifted gears and relayed the breaking news that over 20 people had died and over 100 people were injured in the Vegas attack. The jump in casualties deeply disturbed me.
Sadly, it would get worst. Back at home a couple hours later I was rushing to get my daughter to daycare. I had the TV on but I was more focused on trying to get Sloan to stay still so I could pull her pants on. However, I stopped fiddling with her clothes when I heard the update that over 50 people had been killed and over 200 people were injured (the toll of the injured would later jump to over 500).
I really think living through the news of this awful act of violence will stay etched in my mind just like 9/11. Of course the casualty numbers of the two events are different, but the surreal/sickening feeling I felt from both was very similar.
In no way do I want to make what happened last night about me. But I do want to say that what occurred truly did impact me. Before moving out east, Las Vegas was my favorite vacation destination. After turning 21, I made at least a handful of visits to the city. There is no place in the world like it. As for country music, it is my favorite genre. In fact, just this past summer, Sidney and I attended a country music festival where Jason Aldean was a headliner.
For those of us who have visited Vegas, we know this: It is a fantasy land. Large crowds of people gather and shady characters are able to fly under the radar. For those of us who have attended music festivals, we know all about the dense throngs of humanity that come to enjoy the talents of famous musicians, making mobility sometimes impossible. So, for some people, it might come as no surprise that the deadliest shooting on American soil came at a country music fest on the Las Vegas strip.
Well you know what? It is a surprise to me.
How someone could open fire on an unsuspecting sea of people from a hotel room overlooking the concert venue is a shock to my heart. Innocent men and women had no chance. They paid their hard earned money to watch a concert that featured country music superstars in an electric atmosphere. It was supposed to be the time of their lives.
To know that there are people in this world who would like to not only completely ruin this experience for innocent people but to also TAKE THEIR LIVES or SERIOUSLY INJURE them is completely beyond me. Yes, it surprises me.
It also makes me very angry.
Throughout the day I heard the stories about significant others holding onto each other as one died in the arms of the other. I heard about teen girls, dressed in their best country music concert apparel, realizing they were shot when they looked down at their outfits to see them blood-soaked. I heard about people using wheelbarrows to transport victims out of harm’s way.
How could someone want to inflict so much carnage? How could someone want to take away and destroy so many lives? How could someone be so evil?
I don’t have the answers. All I have is sorrow and prayers for the victims. Today was a tough day, one that we as a country will never forget. The hate must stop. Don’t Blink.