Last night, at approximately 10:50pm, I was watching Rick & Morty when I received a message from a friend on Facebook, “There’s an active shooter in Mandalay Bay in Vegas right now.” She sent me a link to a live feed of the police scanners in the area, and for the next three hours, I sat in shock listening to what was going on in real time.
Like most of the country this morning, I am still in shock. More than 50 people are dead and over 500 were injured in what is now the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. The gunman took the coward’s way out and killed himself as police raided his room on the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay, from where he began spraying bullets into a crowd of people across the street at Route 91 Harvest Music Festival.
I listened for hours as police scrambled to cover ground in one of the busiest cities for nightlife in the country, fielding reports of gunfire from multiple hotels, all of which were eventually declared false reports – but in a state of panic and chaos, you can’t be too careful. The response from police was absolutely incredible, and listening to how they remained (relatively) calm over the police scanners while tens of thousands were running for their lives on the streets has given me a newfound respect for their training.
However, as October begins, I find myself asking if I would be comfortable going to a music festival now, knowing that something like this was possible… and the answer is that I have to be.
In reality, this was always possible. No one searches your car unless it’s a camping festival, and pulling into a parking lot of an event with a loaded automatic weapon and then firing into a crowd has always been a possibility. Event security aren’t equipped to handle that kind of situation. They’re trained to deal with belligerent drunks and people trying to get in without tickets, not armed murderers.
It’s what happened at Pulse Nightclub last year. And you know what followed?
People are still going to nightclubs.
People will still go to festivals.
When we shared an update of the situation this morning, many people lamented that they are scared to attend festivals now. Those feelings are completely natural, and to incite fear is exactly what this person wanted when he opened fire on the crowd at Route 91 last night. We cannot let him accomplish his goal. We cannot become afraid of living our lives in the face of something that might never happen. We cannot put our lives on hold because one man, a terrorist by any definition, decided that we should not be allowed to live our lives. We cannot give him that satisfaction.
One person commented, “I’m scared to go to EDC or LIB now. Anything could happen.”
Another wrote, “Now I’m afraid to go to music festivals! EDC should have the national army next year!”
I beg of you to work past your fears, and go to a festival like EDC and LIB. Festivals are some of the happiest and most welcoming places on Earth, and especially after an event like the one last night, you can expect people to exhibit the best in humanity and embrace others with warmth, kindness, and open arms.
I will be attending a festival this weekend in Los Angeles. And I will not be afraid.
I hope that you too are able to find the courage to do the same.
For a complete list on how you can help the victims of the shooting last night, go here.