Dangerous Compassions

shooting anniversary post

Well, the day is here–it’s the anniversary of the Las Vegas shooting.  I’m carrying around some pain about it. 

There’s this phrase and hashtag “VegasStrong” that I don’t understand.  It’s supposed to comfort people, like remind us we are united in grief and we’ll get through it?  It’s never comforted me.  Always made me queasy.  I never felt included. 

Also, there’s an organization called Vegas Strong that gathered donated money for victims, and there was a scandal, and I don’t know if it was ever resolved.  Nobody really talks about the money.  Seems like a lot of people don’t even know about this.

People wearing VegasStrong teeshirts, stickers on cars, signs on businesses.  Billboards for VegasStrong.  I don’t relate.  It reminds me of the new Las Vegas sports team, the Golden Knights.  Something like patriotism.  A sense of belonging I don’t feel.

So something really happened.  I was not involved.  Then there’s all the reactions and feelings and consequences.

The cops–well, all the “first responders”–that’s a scandal too.  I heard a cop was outside the shooter’s hotel room door for a long time, not busting in to stop him.  I heard it was not handled well, to say the least.

But they are supposed to be heros.  Local businesses give them discounts on smoothies, a free cup of coffee.  The emergency room workers–it must have been a nightmare, but that is their job.  They get paid more money than I’ll ever see to do something I never could do.  They get to buy a house, something I’ll never experience.  Society has decided I deserve to live on $770 a month, for my disability.  And $15 food stamps.

I don’t know the solution to shootings.  I wish I did.  Today there are different vigils and rituals you can go to to express grief or find comfort with others who feel the way you do.  Candlelit vigil, something at a church, something at a spiritual center.  My feelings don’t seem neat or appropriate.

I believe in love.  I run the Las Vegas Radical Mental Health Collective.  I doubt I could have loved the shooter well again.  He was probably really fucked up for a long time?  He was probably of a demographic of people I don’t talk to much, old white men?  I know I don’t believe in psychiatry and we need something new that works, something based on mutual aid and community and support.

I wish the shooting never happened.  Las Vegas is pretty fucked up.  Well, it’s like any other place but our vices are more prominent and advertised.  Never thought I’d live in Adult Disneyland.  There’s a lot of work to do here.  I don’t know how long we’ll stay, but it’s been three and a half years so far.

I’m hurting, on this anniversary, and I’m sorry if you are too.  I don’t know if I said what I really wanted to say.  It was bloody–58 people died and 851 injured.  I used to be agoraphobic, long time ago.  Some people are afraid to send their kids to school.  I’m not having kids for lots of reasons.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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