October 17, 2017
On October 1, 2017, a domestic terrorist, Stephen Paddock, opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Paddock targeted the Route 91 Country Harvest Festival, a three day country music festival that over 22,000 people attended. Over 58 people died and 500+ were injured in Las Vegas. This is the third mass shooting to take place at a concert within the last three years.
It took me a while to fully digest what happened in Las Vegas. As a frequent concert attendee who travels to various music festivals and shows, this attack hit hard. After hearing countless first-hand accounts on the news, I sat speechless and unable to react. Due to the fact that I attend concerts so often, I couldn’t help but think, “what if something like this happens at a show I am at?”
Mass shootings, especially at concerts, have become very frequent and this attack in Las Vegas made me even more cautious than I have ever had to be. I cannot even enjoy a show without letting the thought of “will I potentially die too” passing through my mind. I realize how morbid that sounds, but in the society we live in, we can’t think anything less.
Music brings people together and concerts are an escape. As of recently, this notion is beginning to prove false. Fans can no longer just attend a concert for a couple hours without fearing something awful like this will happen. First, the mass shooting in Paris at The Bataclan, a small club, on November 15, 2015. This took place at an Eagles of Death Metal show and was the first mass shooting to occur at a concert. 90 people lost their lives that night. Then a mass bombing at an Ariana Grande show on May 23, 2017 in Manchester where 22 people died. These constant attacks have prevented music fans from going out to support their favorite musicians for fear of being injured or losing their lives.
Ever since the Pulse Nightclub shooting in June of 2016, concert venues and clubs have taken even higher safety precautions than ever before. At the majority of shows I attend, metal detectors, bag checks, and pat downs from security guards are mandatory. With venues increasing the measures of security, attendees assume that they are safe. However, the Vegas massacre negates all presumptions concertgoers have. Concertgoers should not have to feel unsafe in a place meant to be a haven for love and unity.
The current questions is, how many more shootings have to occur in order for action to fully be taken? Late night television host, Jimmy Kimmel, addressed this issue in tears by recollecting the recent vote on gun violence in the Senate. Unlike any other media outlet, he spoke out and pleaded viewers to take action and notify their local congressmen and women of the issue at hand. When a crisis involving guns occurs, senators quickly try to help, become distracted, and then nothing ever is done or changes. These violent acts need to stop. The only way for gun violence to be resolved is to speak up and take action.
Gun violence has sadly become a huge factor in massacres. Without proper awareness to the situation, shootings like Las Vegas will continue to happen, putting American lives further into danger. Despite this awful occurrence happening, this has only brought the music community even closer together than before.