By Aubreigh Heck / Online Editor
*Trigger warning: gun violence, mention of blood*
On the night of Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Las Vegas, the Route 91 country music festival was coming to a close. Jason Aldean was finishing up his performance when Stephen Paddock opened fire from a neighboring hotel, injuring more than 600 people, and killing 58.
I was in my room, trying to fall asleep to get ready for another day of my sophomore year. I lived in Vegas at the time, and had lived there since I was 8-years old.
After tossing and turning, I went on Twitter because sleep seemed to escape me. On the trending page, “Las Vegas,” was one of the top trends.
I remember thinking, “That’s strange, what could possibly be happening to be worthy of a trending spot?”
When I went to find out, I felt my body freeze and the color drain out of my face.
Reports of active shooters around Mandalay Bay and the festival, videos of people running toward the Tropicana covered in blood, tweet after tweet of people on the scene begging for help.
I immediately went to start tweeting as well, with one of my tweets from 11:12 p.m. on Oct. 1 saying, “I am sick to my stomach right now, if you are on the strip PLEASE evacuate there are active shooters by Mandalay Bay. Please stay safe.”
The night went on like that, refreshing my feed, more reported casualties, refreshing my feed, mutuals praying for their mutuals who were there and still hadn’t said that they were OK, refreshing my feed, more videos and pictures.
I finally fell asleep, and in the morning my mother knocked on my door with a grim look on her face.
Numbly, I got ready for school. On the way there, I remember looking at the beautiful sunrise over the strip, and thinking to myself, “Does the sun know? Does it know it’s shining so brightly over a dark cloud that’s covering the city?”
As more information came out, the angrier I got. Stephen Paddock acquired all of his guns and tools he used in a legal fashion. Why in the world should that be allowed? Why does someone need that many guns? Could all of this have been prevented if he wasn’t allowed such a copious amount of firearms?
From then on, I became an advocate for stricter gun laws. Thoughts and prayers may bring some level of comfort, but they can’t bring the dead back to life.
When the fourth anniversary of One October passed last Friday, it reminded me. We need stricter gun laws, for Sandy Hook, for Parkland, for Vegas, and for so many more useless tragedies.
Enough is enough.