To the Man Who Opened-Fire: Vegas Strong

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As I sit here reflecting on this past week, I find myself stumbling for words. Trying to make sense of things. Trying to make what happened more of a reality, rather than feeling like it was just a bad dream. It is almost as if I wish I could just forget about it… but with the news, social media, and people talking I am painfully reminded of what happened just one short week ago.

Route91 was the event I was looking forward to all year. I found out Sam Hunt was performing and that was it… I got the tickets in February and have been counting down the days since. As the days starting winding down, my excitement was undeniable.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 29th. The first day of Route91. When I woke up in the morning all I could think about was the concert. But first, I had to get through clinical. It seemed like the day was dragging on, but finally I finished up at clinical and quickly got ready to head out. Walking into Route91 was almost surreal, I think because I had been anticipating going for so long. Friday was the perfect kick-start to the 3 day festival.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 30th. Friday was amazing, but TODAY… today was the day. SAM HUNT! The entire reason I got the tickets. I knew that it was going to be a madhouse today. Not only was it Sam Hunt, but also Brett Young. Kind of a big deal. So knowing this, I got there pretty early because I was determined to be in the very very front for Sam Hunt’s performance (big shoutout to my friends for putting up with me being a major slightly annoying fangirl!) Getting there early paid off though because we were there… right up front when he performed at 9 at night (I seriously stayed there all day so I didn’t lose my spot!). We even got to touch him!!! Today was the most fun I have ever had at a concert, and I got to see my favorite artist ever. Needless to say – I left feeling pretty satisfied.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 1st. Today was the day we sort of planned to relax at Route91 (oh the irony). We arrived just in time to see Dylan Scott. By Sunday, my feet were killing me, I was so exhausted, and almost tired of being around all these people. I can’t explain it… but I truly just felt off. Something felt different today. Something felt not right.

Tragedy struck that night and many lives were lost or affected in one way or another. I still can’t wrap my mind around it. I try to make sense of it. I try to make sense of how things happened and why they happened the way they did.

Why did I feel so off? Why did it feel so different – like the whole vibe of the festival changed? What was that feeling urging me to get out of there? How many times did he look out his window and see the massive crowd? How many times did he contemplate pulling the trigger before he actually did? What if I hadn’t been so lucky and was in the wrong place at the wrong time? How did I get so lucky? These questions make my mind race. They send chills down my spine. The only thing I can think of is my guardian angel, my grandma, kept me safe that night.

THE AFTERMATH. How do you deal with a tragedy like this? What do you even do to begin to pick up the pieces? I don’t think there is a perfect answer for this, but let me tell you… I think the people in Vegas unknowingly turned this awful tragedy into something beautiful. People waited in line all day to donate blood for the victims to the point where they had to turn people away and schedule out appointments. The 2 Red Cross Donation Centers in Las Vegas were filled to the brim almost immediately (yes, they had to turn away donations because they had no more room to store it). A Go Fund Me page set up for the victims and their families raised over 10 million in just 6 days.

The people of Las Vegas amaze me. It is truly beautiful to see a community my community come together the way we have. My heart is filled with so much love for these people.

TO THE MAN WHO TOOK SO MANY INNOCENT LIVES. I want to know why you would do this? Why you thought it would be okay to hurt innocent people? Maybe you had so much hate inside of you and didn’t know how to get it out. Maybe you, yourself, were hurting and didn’t know how to get help. I can’t help but wonder what the hell was wrong with you.
I wish you were still around, but only for this reason. I wish you were here to see how this city responded. How the people here came together. How this entire country came together. You may have taken innocent lives for your own sick reasons, but you have not shattered our community. You have given me faith in humanity. You have shown me that no matter the differences, our community will stand together. We will not be scared and we will not let an event like this tear us down. We will rise. But even better, we will rise together. You did not win. Love wins. Always.

TO EVERYONE WHO HAS BEEN FOLLOWING ALONG. I wanted to say a special thanks to you all for the endless messages checking on me. I am forever grateful for you and for you helping make my dreams a reality. None of this is possible without you.

Sending so much love.

xo, Hales

Comments

  1. Beautifully said. I am so thankful that you were not physically injured. It will take time to heal emotionally. You are such a beautiful girl inside and out. By sharing your thoughts you are helping others heal. Sending a big hug to you.

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