Las Vegas shooting: a student perspective

Katianna Mansfield

More stories from Katianna Mansfield

I am okay now
February 16, 2018

Driving my sister to the bus stop in the morning, as I do every single day, she talks to me about what the day has in store for her. She has band, chemistry, Spanish, geometry, and ceramics, and we talk about those quite a bit. She’s finished some projects in her classes- a few will be late- but I’m proud of her for attempting. She’ll be bringing home her molded pot today, and I have most definitely already called dibs. She brings a smile to my face every morning, and the world is so light today. As she opens the door and waves goodbye, I know it’s going to be a good day. I switch on the radio for a little morning news. Usually, it’s something about the Kardashian pregnancies, to which I switch to some country music instead. But today, I stop in my tracks.

“50 dead and counting. Over 200 injured. Mass shooting in Las Vegas at a country music festival with 22,000 attendees, perpetrator shoots himself before police arrive.”

I have to force myself to keep my foot on the gas, there’s the 7 a.m. traffic behind me, and my head is reeling.


The only thing I can do is drive. Drive and listen as my heart churns the way it did last year with the Pulse shooting. No more death, please. I’ve lived through too many mass shootings already. The Colorado movie theater, Sandy Hook Elementary, Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood, San Bernardino, Pulse just a year and a few months ago, and now Vegas.

This was yesterday. It is now just over 24 hours later; the death count has risen to 59, and the injury count has risen to 527. This is now known as the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

My heart has been hurting since the moment I dropped my sister off at the bus stop.

This is something that is normal in our world today; it happens far too often.

The videos are heartbreaking. Thousands of people blanket the ground; every body is within inches of the other, and each shot is met with more screams. Too many people are running and trying to remove themselves from the situation. No one can move, so they take cover on the open asphalt. Singles call out for their pairs, men curse at the window where the shots are erupting from, a woman shields her daughter with her body.

I’ve grown up in a world where this is normal, where I’ve come to expect something awful to happen every few months. Just the other day I was thinking that the world was too calm– nothing exceptionally bad had happened in quite a while. We had the hurricanes recently. Those hit the nation hard, but it doesn’t hit home too hard when it’s nature-inflicted. Everyone is generally angry every day, most people are arguing and disagreeing over the current state of our country, but nothing had given us a devastation that brought us together in the way I’d seen with the last mass shooting in a while. No candlelight vigils or country-wide fundraising; the population doesn’t come together the way it does in times of vast crisis.

Vegas victims, I’m sorry the world breeds chaos. I’m sorry we only come together when something as terrible as this occurs. I’m sorry the spaces between our linked hands have left enough room for people like Stephen Paddock to slip through into inhumanity. I’m sorry your moms, dads, sisters, brothers, children, grandchildren, and best friends are dying and no one knows why.

The shooting hasn’t been linked to any possible reasoning. An “asteroid” hit Stephen’s family when they found out what he’d done; nobody had expected it. He was a good person from the outside, didn’t have a record of any kind, no speeding or parking tickets, nothing at all. He killed himself before he could be found, and now no victim or their families will ever know why he did what he did. He took a coward’s way out and shot from the 32nd floor, far, far above, from a place where no one could touch him. He reigned over the mass of helpless people with terror and shot as many as he could before taking himself out.

I can’t stop thinking about the screaming people, how they were just out to have a safe and fun time. Concerts have such high security, especially with how many people were there. No one fears automatic weaponry in their daily lives; no one buys tickets with the fear that terror would ensue. They were just among the unlucky mass that endured it. I don’t want the world to be scared of leaving their homes, I don’t want the fear to come out the way it always does.

The only thing I can do is drive. Drive and listen as the world comes together after falling apart. Drive and be thankful that I can drop my sister off at the bus stop every morning.

I will drive, and I will continue to attempt to bring the people around me together so that another Stephen Paddock doesn’t emerge from the masses.

Vegas, my loves, pick up the broken pieces of your hearts and just drive.