The State of Affairs

Last week, I was planning a 2-day post detailing what would have been my first stab at going to a concert alone. Though solo concert-going may be a trivial endeavor to some, I tend to be of the mindset that I enjoy concerts more when I’m enjoying the music alongside my friends. The concert in question required the presence of a very specific friend group, who, as fate would have it, happens to live 500 miles away from me right now. Hence the solo concert-going.

To be completely honest, I really had to work on getting myself hyped up for it, in spite of the fact that the band playing was part of the soundtrack to my college life. The opener was also one I had already seen opening another show several years ago, and had since become a favorite (with one song forever tied to a flash mob-style dance my housemates and I performed at our infamous Halloween parties). My point is, I wasn’t exactly psyched to be going alone, but I refused to let the social pressures of being seen at a social event while neglecting to be social hinder my enjoyment of the live music. Because really, how often does a favorite band happen to roll into town AND I have the night off from work? It was my first weekend off in a month, and the stars could not have been more perfectly aligned.

Unfortunately, my mom had a different idea.

She was not so down with the idea of me going alone, in spite of my many appeals to common sense, reminders of my history of trustworthiness, and even unashamed groveling (yes, I went there). Since this was kind of an on-the-fly thing, my friends who were interested already had plans, and my friends who happened to be available were not much into the indie vibe chosen for the night. My brother would never have let me live it down had I brought him, and by the time my dad offered to come with me, I was feeling sufficiently humiliated. So….no concert for Katie.

Bummed does not cover how I’m still feeling, but you get the idea. What’s worse though is that bummed has been completely overshadowed by horrified at the events that occurred in Las Vegas last weekend. I’m not sure if collectively, the country has moved past its state of shock, but after the investigations by officials this week, it has become abundantly clear that understanding is likely something we will never achieve. And even if this mass casualty had been organized by a prototypical psychopath, what are the chances we could ever truly understand why one person would choose to destroy the lives of so many innocents attending an event that is ultimately meant to bring a little more lighthearted joy into the world?

To say that this tragic event validated my mom’s fears of me going to a concert by myself would be short-sighted, but not entirely out of scope. I am of the opinion that something bad could happen anywhere at any time, and the threat of such an event should not prevent me from doing my best to live my life as I please. That’s not to say that certain precautions should be ignored–being careless is a surefire way to wreak havoc on your life–but the fact that a lone wolf madman opened fire on a crowd of concert-goers isn’t going to stop me from seeing my favorite bands play live in the future. Similarly, I didn’t stop flying on airplanes after 9/11, I don’t avoid commuting to work because I might be involved in a car accident, and I don’t plan on avoiding the ocean because there might be sharks.

Life carries inherent risks, but being shot at during a music festival should never be one of them. There is absolutely no reason I can think of that anyone needs the kind of weapons that were used in this attack at their disposal (or any guns, for that matter). I should not have to wax poetic about gun control to convince anyone that these firearms are dangerous and unnecessary. And yet, there is a gun show happening in Orange County this weekend, and I guarantee that it will be packed with enthusiasts, as if the Las Vegas shooting had never even happened. So it appears that waxing poetic is necessary, even if that means it falls upon deaf ears. Even if one person is listening, the effort will be worth it.

This is the state of affairs after having a president work tirelessly for 8 years to prevent these kinds of tragedies. Now we have Voldemort incarnate in office, working tirelessly to undo any and all progress that was made. The state of affairs is that we live in a world where my mom would rather not let me out of the house for fear of something awful happening to me. I can stand here and tell her about how I’m a grown-ass woman, fiercely independent, and cautious to a fault, but she won’t hear any of that because she sees what the world is capable of doing to me, and she sees our “leader” paving the way for more tragedy to occur. And really, if I put myself in her shoes, a small part of me cannot blame her. Will that stop me from going and doing and being as I please? No. Will that make me plan an escape route in my head upon entering any crowded venue for the rest of my life? You can count on it.