By Monica Rodriguez | Reporter
According to the Gun Violence Archives, over 300 mass shootings have occurred in the United States as of Nov. 5, when a gunman opened fire on a church in Sutherland Springs.
On Oct. 1, the deadliest mass shooting to occur in the United States happened at a country music festival in Las Vegas.
On June 12, 2016, 49 people were killed at a nightclub in Orlando, Fla.
On July 20, 2012, a shooter opened fire during a screening of the new Batman film at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo.
On April 16, 2007, a mix of students and faculty were killed in the early hours at Virginia Tech University.
Not only were these acts of violence committed without warrant, but they were committed in places where people should feel a sense of relief and safety –– places where you go and don’t automatically think that they’ll be the stages for such cruelty.
Since hearing about these events, I’d be lying if I said I don’t automatically look for the glowing green exit signs whenever I go out to see a movie or immediately tense up when someone randomly walks into the theater. Last year, when there was a shooting alert that occurred close to Baylor, my mind and heart raced as I texted all my closest friends to make sure they were safe during the lockdown.
A week after the shooting in Las Vegas, I texted my little sister telling her that I loved her and to be safe while attending the Austin City Limits music festival –– a festival we had gone to before many times since we lived in Austin, and one that I was to attend the following weekend as well.
Many of these places people go to every day without a second thought. We never think about how we could be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nor do we think about how every minute we spend living and breathing should be done with purpose, because we don’t know when it could be our last.
My point is, despite all of these things, we shouldn’t live in fear of what-if’s and incidentals.
Go to that concert you’ve been waiting weeks to see. Go out with your friends on that Saturday night. Continue going to church because it should be a place where you feel safe and at peace from the hostility of the world.
Don’t live in fear of the unknown.
When the ticket company behind ACL started offering refunds for ticket-goers who decided to not attend the festival after the Las Vegas massacre, I firmly declined. I wanted to have this experience because it was an important part of my life that I wanted to treasure as another memory.
So next time you hear about another one of these violent, horrendous acts on T.V. or scroll past another depressing article, yes you can feel saddened, but don’t feel afraid.
Continue to move forward with love and optimism. Don’t stop living.