Thursday, October 5, 2017

My Heart Hurts for All of Us

What a week, huh?

A wealthy asshole slaughters 58 people attending a Jason Aldean concert for no fucking reason.*

And a beloved rock musician dies suddenly (and more than once, if you believe some hack news reporting).

Quite the juxtaposition.

The shooting rampage in Las Vegas and the death of Tom Petty together serve to illuminate, in that strange way the universe has of not quite letting me let go of a belief in some kind of God, the great profundity and stunning ordinariness of death.

The idea of one anonymous person killing or injuring nearly 600 others in a non-military, non-political, completely innocuous setting, is very difficult to wrap my head around. (I won't dignify him here by using his name or the "lone wolf" appellation that attempts to define him as something other than a terrorist, or at least a common thug, both of which he certainly was.)

The idea of a famous musician - who entertained and inspired me since I was 10 years old - suffering cardiac arrest just a week after playing his "farewell" concerts fills me with sadness and a sense of grief I can hardly articulate.

Nearly 600 people - none of whom, as far as I know, had a personal connection to me - mercilessly attacked for absolutely no good reason.

One man - with whom I also shared nothing - who was a household name and died suddenly after living a life of wealth, fame, and success.

Surely there should be a qualitative difference there, right?

And of course there is.

Men in their 60s die of heart attacks. Not all, but it's certainly not an anomaly. It happens.

Average people die, too - sometimes individually, sometimes in small numbers, sometimes in shockingly, unexpectedly large numbers.

As an average person, I'm terrified that I or someone I love could go any time. For any reason. Without warning.

At the same time, some elemental part of my brain wants to believe that people of enormous talent - whether it be intellectual, physical, or artistic - somehow deserve a better and longer life than the rest of us. And every time that belief is proved wrong, I feel small and mortal and scared for everyone who is just...a human, doing their human thing.

In that way, the loss of Tom Petty reminds me that no one is immune from death, and that while I tear up at news reports and then move on, there are people for whom his death is the death of a spouse, a father, a bandmate, a friend.

And the loss of 58 random people in Las Vegas at the hands of a madman reminds me that life carries no guarantees of longevity, and that not knowing the names of each and every victim makes their death no less a tragedy, and no less personal to my own existence.

I mourn every death this week...Tom Petty, 58 men and women in Las Vegas, and the countless others whose obituaries I will never even read.

Someday (FAR in the future, I hope), my own death will give to someone an appreciation of the preciousness of life.

For now...

My condolences to all of us.



*  I totally don't mean people were attending a Jason Aldean concert for no fucking reason. I meant there were shot for no fucking reason. No matter what kind of music you like, you don't deserve this shit.

1 comment:

  1. How is this not terrorism. I mean the mass shooting all over the USA are not termed as acts of terrorism just because they are done by white males. And there is still the white supremacy

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