Las Vegas Massacre – Two Perspectives
Sunday, October 1 was supposed to be the day we left for our first travel assignment in Reno, NV. We were supposed to get up nice and early, finishing packing up the RV, and head to our new cozy home for the next 6 months.
That didn’t happen.
What happened instead, was that we went to a show and stay out waaay too late and ended up requiring another full day to recover before our lengthy drive. That meant the RV park we were staying at, Oasis, would be our home for one more night…
As you can see on the above picture, Oasis sits approximately 4 miles south of Mandalay Bay as the crow flies. The one thing I learned in Afghanistan is that the sound of gunfire can travel miles and miles through calm air.
At approximately 10:10 that night I was outside the RV putting some finishing touches on things and preparing for an early morning, when I heard what sounded like cheap fireworks at a flea market. “Crack, crack crack, crack, crack!” they rang out. I am typically the one in the relationship to call anything I hear gunfire, but this time I did nothing. It wasn’t until I saw scores of police cars, ambulances and firetrucks, full lights and sirens that I thought something was really off. But honestly, it wasn’t until I saw the news that I really began to think.
Since that early morning, when I received no less than 5o text messages confirming my family’s wellness, I began to think about the magnitude of that night. I have been faced with countless hours to think as I drove my family to Reno. What would I have done? What if I knew someone who died? What would I do if it was someone I loved? The weekend before this mess I was at Life is Beautiful with my family. What if he did it there? I began to cry.
One thing that I thought about as I churned these questions over in my head, is that I am not truly living as if it could all be taken in an instant. I say that I am. I preach that I am living my greatest adventure, and I would love to think that everyone I love would know just how much I love them if I were to leave, but I don’t believe it. I don’t believe I am working hard enough to create the legacy I have promised my wife and my kids.
Bronwen asked me, “How do you want to be remembered when you die?” She asked, “…if they were writing a small paragraph about you on CNN, what would yours say?”
This was my response:
Dane was someone who truly lived his life with the one sole purpose of creating a worthwhile legacy for his family to follow. Friends say they’ve never known someone to love their wife as much as him, and he always did what he said he would do, regardless of how outlandish. He is a soul that will truly, truly, be missed on this earth.
I don’t know where I’m going with this, but the discussion has been started. I am still very shook up, and I know Bronwen is, too. This time really hit close to home. I will come back and edit this more as I have time to think.
I was talking to a friend of mine, well I guess you could say listening, most of my friendships as of late have become one way streets. Anyways, I found myself listening to a laundry list of nonsense that had little weight as a contender in the ring of what’s going on in the world. And what prompted this conversation, well it was that mystery human Steven Paddock, (yes I spelled his name wrong, because that’s little how much of a shit I could give), who decided to unleash his random and unexplained bullet fury on 22,000 festival friends.
Now I don’t much care for the likes of country music, which half insulted me as all my friends/ “friends” and family/”family,” asked me if I was ok. I thought ‘do you even know me at all?’ However, I am aware that the natural human response to tragedy is to try and insert yourself as close to the catastrophe as possible. I get it, people really love to feel that sense of belonging and like their a part of things. And in their defense, I do rather frequently attend festivals, with my children if I can.
On one hand people get upset and lash out at people that weren’t actually directly being shot at, for inserting themselves in some way. On the other hand America is banding together and #vegasstrong is born…
But I must say that my personal take on this particular subject is that everyone is entitled to feel exactly how they feel. Why? because they are a human and whatever they are feeling they are entitled to. But hey back to me! Now, I of course became obsessed with the usual details, first and foremost. Why? Well, really what does that matter Bronwen? Even if we get the why behind this strategical nightmare, nothing would change. These people would still have lost their lives, and all their loved ones, and Las Vegas would still feel the sting of being caught off guard.
Then all of a sudden you get political agenda pushed and people finding a way to rationalize, blame, or even take credit.
But what I find to be important is just this simple: we will not be bullied! As a fellow festival goer, and one that brings her entire family when I can, I will not live in this paralyzing fear. The fear that these idiots try to illicit from us, by raining bullets and hatred into our places of love, light, comfort, and festivities!
Whether you’re watching Batman, sipping cosmos in Orlando, or trying to get your Jason Aldean on…keep doing it as if there’s no mass murderer lurking in the shadows! Because if we give up now and lay down to the fear, then they have already won. And let’s face it, there’s only a hand full of them and thousands of us. And they can’t take us all out!
To be continued…