The Las Vegas Shooting on Oct. 1. I have little words. With what words I do have, I will try to convey the horror of this happening in my own backyard and what I've realized and dealt with.
What is happening?
Friends are tweeting out that gunshots have been heard on the Strip. Celebrities far from Las Vegas are already talking about staying away from the Strip. What's going on? The news outlets have nothing confirmed yet. Was that a gunshot outside my window? Is this a terrorist attack? Will there be more attacks?
While I was sleeping?
The largest mass shooting in the U.S. happened not an hour away from me and I slept peacefully through it. Is that possible? If this hadn't been a Sunday night and school night, would I have been at the festival instead of sleeping? Is it my fault that I couldn't help?
That is only thirty minutes away from me.
Just a drive away, 58 Americans were killed and over 600 were injured. They are still suffering. Should I feel guilty at how lucky I am? I was next to a national tragedy. Will my city ever be the same?
Who is safe?
Gun laws will be strict in hotels and casinos for a couple months, maybe 2 or 3 months at best. Then everything will go back to normal like nothing happened. And then it will happen again. So when will the change come? How can I ever be safe when America refuses to acknowledge tragedies for more than 3 months? How can Americans survive another lack of response?
Who is not at school the next day?
These classmates that are absent next to me--are they safe? Are they staying at home with their parents? Are they in the overfilled hospitals? Have they been shot? Did they even attend the music festival? Why aren't they responding to my texts and calls? Are they asleep? Can I bear to think of the possibilities worse than sleep?
The world is focused on me.
The president of the U.S. tweeted about this. Barack Obama tweeted about this. How is this real? These important people tweeting about my city? This tragedy is impacting the entire country? This #prayforlasvegas applies to me. But how is it real?
How am I supposed to cope?
How do I keep living when a part of my city has been killed and will never be the same? When will my feeling of safety return? I've always watched these tragedies on the news, with the safety of a screen in front of me. Now I am watching it in person, with the consequences still wounding my city and its inhabitants.
I hope one day my city and my people will heal. Until then, do not pray for us. Change for us.