“It’s not a matter of if, but when.”
These were words from a friend who lives in Las Vegas. She sent them in an email, along with an update on how her and her family were after the horrific shooting in Las Vegas.
I hated reading those words. I hate even more that I agree.
I don’t consider myself a paranoid person but in recent years I have found myself changing how I prepare for a concert, a movie, a sporting event or a festival.
Whether we want to admit it or not, our lives have changed due to acts of terrorism and mass shootings. These acts have changed the way we live, the way we think, the way we react and how we prepare.
Look at the security that exists every time you pass through an airport before taking your seat on a plane. Think about all of the restrictions that exist before you head into a sporting event, concert or other venue. There are restrictions on bag size–in some cases a purse must be transparent–and restrictions on clothing (hats, boots, etc.). In addition, before entering, you and your belongings are searched and in most cases cleared by a metal detector.
After the recent string of incidents where cars and trucks have been driven through crowds of people on public streets, talks about how to prevent copycats began. Among the questions being asked: how can roads and sidewalks be built in a way that protect pedestrians from an oncoming vehicle?
It may be scary to think about and we may not want to admit it to ourselves, but these little changes we see throughout everyday life have most likely happened in response to these horrific tragedies.
This is our reality.
We don’t have to be okay that this is our reality but I think ignoring it is dangerous.
It’s why I pay close attention to exits and entrances when attending events, I pay close attention to bags or items left around venues and I pay closer attention to what people around me are doing and how they are acting.
If this sounds paranoid, I apologize, because that’s not my intention. For me, it’s about being prepared, so if there is an incident I can react quickly and in the best possible way.
People say you can never prepare for situations like how you may react in a mass shooting or similar attack, but we can at least try.
For me, as I watch, listen and read about events like the shooting in Las Vegas, I try to wrap my head around it all. I try to understand how one person could injure hundreds of people from yards away.
The truth is I’m never able to make sense of it. Acts like these can’t be justified. But can they be prevented?
I think it’s clear the answer to that question is yes but not always. So, what else can we do?
Be prepared. Educate ourselves. Help one another. Be kind to one another. Talk to one another.