Event: Route 91 Harvest Music Festival
Event date: Sunday Oct 1, 2017
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
It was only ten minutes.
Between 10:05pm and 10:15pm on Sunday, October 1, 2017, approximately 1,000 bullets were fired into the crowd. The shooter took aim from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay diagonally across the street and down into the venue, into the country music concert.
Sixty people lost their lives. The bullets wounded an additional 411. During the rush to evacuate, additional injuries occurred, bringing the total injury count to 867.
Many of us know someone who was directly or indirectly tied to this event.
I had two employees who were at the concert; I have subsequently learned that I am connected to many more attendees.
Coincidentally, I flew into Las Vegas that same Sunday afternoon - not for the concert but for a business conference. I was two blocks away when the massacre happened.
This shooting incident remains as the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States.
For a moment, the bullets and commotion blended with the festivities and the music…but only for a moment.
Then people started falling.
One attendee I know escaped by sheltering with friends behind a portable liquor bar. The other, did not fare so well.
Julie was struck; the bullet puncturing her chest. She fell to the ground as did those around her, partly from shock and partly in an effort to minimize the potential for additional damage. The echoes from the neighboring buildings made it difficult to tell from where the bullets came. People ran. And in all directions. As the crowd searched for safety, Julie and others began to get trampled.
Julie was taken to a Las Vegas hospital where she spent all Sunday night and most of Monday, with approximately 500 others, waiting to be treated. She was in pain, but her wounds, incredibly, were less than life-threatening, so she waited. The hospital was in triage mode; she quietly waited her turn. As Monday morning turned into Monday afternoon and with no one to attend to Julie, a doctor finally advised her that she might receive quicker and better treatment in Reno, where she lived, if she felt able to travel. At about 4:30 Monday afternoon, Julie opted to go home. While friends and co-workers were searching for private transportation, Julie made her way to McCarren Airport and flew home, on Southwest Airlines, sitting next to another concert attendee – who was also dealing with an untreated bullet wound.
Understandably, Julie took a leave of absence. After several weeks, she began to reappear at the office. For a bit. And then a bit more. As weeks became months, Julie took on additional responsibilities until she was able to fully return to her prior position.
October 1, of 2021 will mark the 4-year anniversary of the tragedy.
I was struck by both the tragedy that was so close to home, and the strength and resilience of Julie and so many others. As a result, I put pen to paper and sat at the piano.
This song was composed and inspired by Julie, her fellow concert attendees, their families and all others who have become victims of these unpredictable and senseless disruptions to humanity.
I hope to remind listeners that though headlines fade quickly, the distress emanating from these tragedies painfully reverberates forever in the hearts of those who have fallen victim.