In 2017, I bore witness to the tragic events of the Oct. 1 Las Vegas mass shooting, an experience that left a lasting impact on me. Regrettably, news of another shooting evokes profound disappointment. How many more times does this have to happen? In 2017, mere minutes after departing the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival, I observed the harrowing scenes of bodies falling and gunshots echoing. Additionally, during Easter of 2015, I was present at the M Buffet when an individual took his own life. This distressing incident unfolded as a consequence of him being expelled from the buffet despite winning a “Lifetime Pass at the M Buffet” as a gambler. Witnessing such graphic events at a young age was deeply unsettling, especially in my own city, and yet I endeavored to move forward, not only to shield myself from discomfort but also to spare others from the same.
Recovering from the shock of a mass shooting entails grappling with the aftermath once the adrenaline has subsided. How does one process the enormity of such an incident after ensuring the well-being of loved ones and confronting the staggering number of victims? It is disheartening to question why such occurrences have become normalized in our society, why the act of taking lives is considered acceptable, and why gun violence is prevalent. My intention is not to dive into the political realm. As a gun owner myself, I recognize the complexity of the issue, acknowledging it as both a mental health and a gun-related issue. The challenge lies in navigating a dialogue around such a controversial subject.
The date Dec. 6 serves as a somber reminder. Individuals endured hours of fear in their classrooms, were forcibly evacuated from their residences and desperately ran for their lives. Lives were lost. The tragedy underscores the pressing need to address gun violence openly and candidly, refusing to succumb to societal pressures that encourage silence.
It is crucial not to shy away from uncomfortable conversations. Gun violence should be discussed openly rather than being relegated to silence. My sincere hope is that everyone feels safe and maintains their well-being.