Monday, October 2, 2017

Some People Think We're Crazy Because We Stay Close To Home, But...

Lisa called out sick today. She's still not feeling up to par from the horrible head and chest cold that we had been both inflicted with. Early this morning, she went to get bloodwork done for the appointment she has with her doctor tomorrow. She always goes first thing in the morning to beat the crowd. Prior to her getting home, I had dozed off with the kids on the sofa with me. The cup of coffee she made me before leaving had cooled.

When she got home, I wasn't yet coherent.

"Did you read about the shooting in Las Vegas?"

"No...what happened?"

Usually, I'm aware of the world's happenings because I work online. However, the night before, I had shut down early. I needed a break. A few hours of social detox.

I immediately opened my Chrome Book and scanned a few of my trusty news sources.

My heart sank.

I had to catch my breath.

There was a lump in my throat.

Very few things render me speechless, but the news of what happened in Las Vegas left me at a loss for words.

It wasn't until later in the day that I was able to post something on my Facebook wall.

And, I quote...

As a writer, I should be able to culminate my thoughts surrounding what happened in Las Vegas. Today, I can't. I haven't been able to watch the videos people posted. When the first gunshots were heard. Or during. And after. I don't want to. I've worked online for over a decade. During this time, I've watched, read, and listened to the darkest of moments. Nightmares. It's impossible to avoid it. My skin has become uncomfortably thick, but that doesn't make me desensitized. 

This was an act of pure evil. I know in the weeks to follow, every aspect will be psychoanalyzed. And, depending on people's religious beliefs, political standpoints, opinions about gun control, etc., heavy and heated debates will follow. 

But, for a few seconds, let's just push all of that aside. The people at this concert went to have a great time. Some were vacationing. Others were locals. It was supposed to be an evening of great music and dancing. How many times have we gone to a concert to participate in the very same thing? Amid the excitement and anticipation, it probably never crossed our minds that we wouldn't make it home alive.

There was a time when people were adamant about not living in fear because fear meant the enemy had won. However, we need to start rethinking this. WE have. Although our adventures outside of the home have been greatly reduced by our growing family, we made the decision to be happy and content staying close to home. No travel. No concerts. No adventures to popular, overcrowded destinations. Call us crazy. That's fine. We couldn't care less.

With that being said, our deepest condolences are extended. To the ones who lost their lives. To those who were injured. To those who were there and witnessed such horror. To those who never made it home. To everyone affected by this horrific event.

Still, well over 12 hours after I learned of what had happened, I'm unable to wrap my head around it. I can't help but think, "What if that had been us...?"

The visual played out in my head over and over. What if Lisa and I decided to attend a concert or go to a baseball game and on a whim, someone open fired. What if Lisa or I or the both of us didn't return home? 

Our kids, they'd be orphans. They would have no idea why we didn't return home.

That thought alone tugged at my heartstrings and distracted me for the entire day.

Those what ifs...

I don't like it when the "what ifs" linger in my brain. Especially on the overnight. When it's quiet. And, there's nothing to distract me.

There was a time when you could go to a baseball game, concert, or a popular venue with thousands of people and not have to worry about someone open firing.

Sadly, not anymore.

If Lisa and I were to attend a concert, it would be in the back of my head that it could happen. I'd worry. I wouldn't have fun.

As I mentioned in my Facebook post, as our family got bigger, we made the decision to halt traveling and attending large events. We're okay with that. We're content staying close to home.

There's nothing wrong with that. Some people think we're crazy, but we couldn't care less. It's our decision. Our life.

I'm well aware that tragedy can strike anywhere. We could be at Kohl's shopping and someone could open fire. Or at the grocery store. However, the chances are much greater at an event with hundreds or thousands of people.

That's not a chance we're willing to take.

We are living in a time when we have to think about this stuff. It's no longer a matter of "if you live in fear, the enemy wins." It's about being cautious and not putting yourself in high-risk situations.

We are living in a time when you have to talk about this stuff with your human kids. Teach them what to do if they ever find themselves in that type of situation. And, you need to educate yourselves. Be aware of your surroundings. If you're at a concert or a crowded venue, know where the exits are and areas where you could take cover. While that doesn't make you immune to being struck by a bullet, you're at least prepared and have a better chance.

You think I'm crazy? I'm not.

The people who attended this country music festival probably didn't think twice about it. They went to have fun. Listen to great music. Have a few beers. Celebrate. Because that's what music festivals are all about.

This one ended in tragedy.

My heart hurts. For the ones who lost their lives. For those who were injured. For all those who attended and had to experience that fear. For their friends and family.

For everyone...

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