By now, we’re sure everyone has heard the news of the horrific shooting that took place late Sunday at the Route 91 Festival in Vegas. It has been two days since the incident and personally, I am still struggling to find the words to express my condolences and sympathies to the twenty-two thousand lives that were affected by a single person’s terrorist actions. There are no words that can be said – despite all of the beautifully written statements and outpour of love, strength, compassion from artists, fans and everyday people alike – to absorb any of the hurt the five hundred injured victims feel, bring back the lives taken, or comfort the loved affected due to the deranged and selfish actions of one man. I am so sorry.
Initially, I felt as though it was not our (as a publication and my, on a personal level) place to speak about the Route 91 Festival massacre – but by remaining silent to these hateful crimes, we are allowing that hate to win. I will never be able to understand what drives a human being to have the desire to inflict harm or take a life. When news broke of the bombing that occurred at Ariana Grande’s performance early this year in Manchester, I felt an inconsolable sadness, one that returned late Sunday night when I fell asleep reading the news of the two casualties from the shooting. Even more so when I woke Monday to read the toll had risen to over fifty lives. The pain and heartache to hear of these vicious attacks targeting a place that promotes optimism, love, and positivity… innocent lives who simply wanted a night of freedom, to enjoy themselves. Regardless of age, race, religious beliefs, gender, political standpoints… at the very core, we are all human beings, with a beating heart no different from the next. I have seen and read so many tweets, statements, comments regarding the shooting that took place this weekend in Vegas. So many cries out for this is why we need reasonable gun control or calling this act of violence the “price we pay for freedom” (what a jackass). So many opinions, so many people numb to this tragic event, as it seems to become the norm.
Violence should NEVER be accepted as a normality. Headlines should not be scattered commonly with another attack, another shooting, another massacre. Especially one taking place at events intended to be an escape. Concerts, festivals, events of any sort should never be a place of hate or of fear. I cannot tell you how many of my friends have reached out as someone who regularly attends concerts and have asked me or warned me or been concerned for my safety. It is heartbreaking to live in a world where in addition to picking out what memorabilia you might want from the merch table, there is that underlying pressure to also scan the room for possible exits in case of an emergency, or places to hide beneath, or correspond a brief plan with your friends, just in case.
Concerts should be a safe place. A place of pure joy and happiness where one can clear your mind and lose yourself in seeing your favorite artist, discovering new artists, making friends, and even if everything around you is crumbling…for those two to four hours while you’re engulfed in the euphoric experience… nothing else matters. I have very little faith that I could properly describe how I felt the first time I stood in a crowd of like-minded individuals, dehydrated and exhausted and yet excited beyond belief for my favorite band to take the stage (it was Good Charlotte, with Eve 6 and Goldfinger opening the show. Good times). I was just a teenager, who had been separated from my friends and I will never forget as I struggled not to be sucked in to the vicious circle pit encouraged by John Feldmann…a taller, older boy who was there protecting his girlfriend made the silent decision to also loop his arm around me, protecting me from being swept up in something that, at the time, absolutely terrified me. In no way am I comparing my experience of being afraid of a mosh pit the same terror I can only imagine those felt as they sought out safety from a shooting – but my point is this: his act of kindness towards a complete stranger made me realize from a very early age that concerts are a space of acceptance, of happiness and most of all, of LOVE.
The only silver lining to this tragic event is the positivity, the GOOD it brings out in all of us. The solidarity and proof that love prevails. It was shown in the acts of strangers, who risked their lives to save others. Those who found the strength to remain calm and organize to protect the masses. The first responders who arrived on the scene, preventing what could have been casualties ranging over a hundred. One life lost is one too many. One innocent life lost brings enough pain to want to shut down, curl up, to cry. But there were so many brave individuals, people protecting each other, lending their vehicles to rush the injured to hospitals for medical attention that would save their lives. And to everyone who showed up to donate blood, or the millions of dollars raised in just a few hours. Good will always triumph. Good continues to take the lead with everyone sharing this heartache and those who are outraged by these heinous acts of violence becoming a common occurrence.
This tragic act of violence has left us stunned. Our hearts are heavy as details are shared, victims are named, and as every single one of those who attended the Route 91 Festival this weekend are left with the traumatic memories and lingering pain that takes that safety – the one that should be a guarantee – from any events they may attend in the future. We must come together now more than ever to do all that we can to prevent continued violence and more tragedies like this from occurring. As scary as it is, as scared as you may find yourself to be, we cannot let hate win. Moving forward will prove to be very difficult and it will take time, but where else can we go but forward? We have to stand together, to lift one another, to be there for each other. Coming together, as music lovers have done for generations, as HUMANS have done… we can prove that love, compassion, acceptance and support and our combined strengths will allow us to overcome this becoming a normality.
If you would like to donate to those affected please visit: https://www.gofundme.com/dr2ks2-las-vegas-victims-fund
If you are looking for a lost love one who was present during the shooting, please call 1-866-535-5654.
Additional information, photos, updates, resources and further details on how you can help can be accessed via the official social media page.