On Sunday October 1, 2017, Las Vegas was struck with what is being called “the deadliest mass shooting in modern history.” As of now, 59 are confirmed dead and over 500 others were injured when Steven Paddock, age 64, open fired on a crowd attending Route 91 Country Music Festival from the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay hotel.
On June 12, 2016, 50 people were killed and 58 more were injured at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando Florida when Omar Mateen, 29, open fired inside the club. This terrible tragedy was the deadliest mass shooting in modern history…until what happened in Las Vegas less than 16 months later.
Normally, this harrowing information wouldn’t be found on an electronic music website. Frankly, it shouldn’t be. People immerse themselves in music and the culture surrounding it because they want to escape from things like that. They want to feel accepted. They want to feel safe.
Unfortunately, other than the horrendous circumstances, these tragedies have something in common: they occurred in live music environments.
Those who follow the news will also note that this similarity extends beyond these two cases. The attacks in Paris happened partially at a live music venue; the Bataclan Theater. A similar attack happened at the Manchester Arena immediately following Ariana Grande’s performance earlier this year.
When people see unfortunate events like that on the news, most feel sympathy and remorse, but they have the luxury of knowing they would never find themselves in a place like that.
When I see things on the news like what happened in Las Vegas, or Orlando, or Paris, or Manchester, I know that I find myself in places like that all the time.
How does this make me feel?
A little bit scared. I can’t lie. But my fear can’t stand up to my zeal. The fact that someone can buy a weapon that causes so much damage with almost no accountability is unacceptable.
This is not a political post, so I will not go into handgun statistics or the semantics of the second amendment. I know there are plenty of people attending these events who fully support the current gun control policy, and if you’re not someone who will do something like Steven Paddock or Omar Mateen, that’s fine. Guns in the right hands aren’t dangerous to anyone.
But to those same people who want the government away from their guns, I ask you to consider this point:
Music events, regardless of genre, bring people together who have viewpoints that differ from yours. Everyone leaves their controversial opinions at home and gathers to enjoy something that transcends garbage like that: music. So within a live music environment, it’s safe to assume that everyone there (minus a few hopeless cases) respects you and cares about you, because honestly, without controversial opinions there wouldn’t be any reason to dislike anyone.
So if that’s the case, then why not do something to help make sure those people are safe?
Don’t vie for stricter gun legislation because of politics. Do it for the random people you met at a festival. You know the ones who made your night astronomically better, and then you never saw them again?
Did you ask that person’s political views before you shared a beer? No. You could’ve disagreed on every single issue, but it didn’t matter around live music because stuff like that doesn’t matter around live music.
Only two things matter around live music: music and each other. The letter I’m writing to my legislators isn’t about politics. It’s about each other.