Jason Aldean was on stage, and I was standing in the pit on my toes, phone reached above my head to snap one last photo of the show. My best friend, mother and aunt were on our final day in Las Vegas, celebrating at our annual girl’s trip at the Route 91 Harvest festival. It was 10:04 p.m., and I had struggled to see the stage all weekend.
Our struggle to see over the crowd, unfortunately, became our saving grace. 10:05 p.m. One minute after putting my phone back in my pocket, the first shots were fired. With those shots, my life changed. Covered in both my blood and a stranger’s, we were trapped for most of the shooting. I had never seen someone die before, but I saw enough death for a lifetime within a span of minutes.
Gun violence is jarring. Surviving it feels impossible, but the real battle begins each day after. I have done what I can to further prevention, but it never feels like it’s enough.
One day, I hope not to see their eyes when I close mine. Until then, I fight to honor the 58 and prevent others from joining our involuntary mass shooting club.