The minute I committed to play volleyball at Virginia Tech, the first thing I heard from people wasn't "congratulations" or "omg that's awesome!", the first thing that came out of most people's mouths was "isn't that the school with the shooting?" As insensitive as that is, it's true. Everyone knew Tech as either the "school with the good football" or the "school with the shooting".
That's not how I viewed Tech, that's not how Tech is viewed anymore and that is certainly not how anyone will see Vegas moving forward.
Now I know I have only been living here for a few months... but it truly feels like a dream here. The weather is always nice, sun is always shining, the people are relaxed and full of joy, and you will never run out of fun things to do. People from all over the world come here looking for fun, looking to gamble all their money away, looking for the best food, and to just, get away...
It's no secret that this city just endured one of the worst tragedies in US history, and as a Hokie, it feels even more difficult to get past... I've been going over this situation in my head over a thousand times and didn't know how to write this blog, but with all my thoughts and emotions running through my head, I knew I wanted to say something.
Do I address the tragedy? Do I express my pain? Do I push for peace?
I want you all to know that Vegas is not the city that holds the worst mass shooting in US history, it's not a city with crazy violent people with machine guns, it's not a place of tragedy...
Vegas is a place where people go to make their dreams come true. Vegas is a place where everyone around the world comes to have fun and get away. Vegas is a place of pure joy and excitement. When you step off the plane into Vegas, you leave all sadness at the door. You leave any problems that are going on in the world, or in your world at the gate. You forget everything that pissed you off the previous week, you aren't tired or angry at the jet lag.
You've stepped into a world filled with fun, opportunity and a LOT of gambling at the hopes of winning big. You are at peace.
It will take a while for us to recover here in Vegas. We will grieve, but we will never forget. We are not damaged, but we will be stronger.
Just like Virginia Tech, we will prevail.
Ways to Donate to victims families, local hospitals and those who were injured
Las Vegas Victim's Fund: https://www.gofundme.com/dr2ks2-las-vegas-victims-fund
American Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/local/nevada/southern-nevada/ways-to-donate
National Compassion Fund: https://nationalcompassionfund.org/
Love Army for Las Vegas: https://www.gofundme.com/LoveArmyLasVegas
Memorial Pages and People Injured from the Tragedy:
Nicole Cullina: https://www.gofundme.com/nicole-cullinas-recovery-fund
Tina Frost: https://www.gofundme.com/mary-watson-moreland
*this is a running list, keep updated with this post as I will be adding more links to donate