Today was a Monday for the history books, a day that calls for courage. As we woke up in America, we woke up to the horrid news that 50 innocent souls had been slaughtered in Vegas. Like many Americans, I struggled to make sense of the carnage. Indeed I left my house with a sick feeling in my stomach and an ache in my heart.
Fortunately, my day was busy and my mind was occupied for a large part of it. I did my best to avoid Facebook like the plague. Sadly, what was once a nice escape to check in on friends, has become a bastion of hate masquerading as advocacy and opinion. Somehow we’ve lost our perspective and our ability to respect others’ whose opinions may be different. How is it that a VP for a major news network felt it was okay to say that she had no sympathy for the victims because country music fans are often Republicans? How is okay that we, as a society, would even think someone’s life is less valuable because they disagree with us politically? Whiskey tango foxtrot….
The only acceptable response to any of this bullsh#t is the quote from Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen Silveria as he addressed the racist messages that had been written on the doors of African American cadets. He said, “if you can’t treat someone from another gender, whether that’s a man or a woman, with dignity and respect, then you need to get out. If you demean someone in any way, then you need to get out. And if you can’t treat someone from another race or different color skin with dignity and respect, then you need to get out.” Importantly, it is possible to have differing opinions, but if you can’t treat everyone with dignity and respect, than I have no time for you.
Monday was bad enough and then the news updates starting popping in that Tom Petty had taken ill with a massive heart attack. Once again, the pit returned to my stomach. Tom Petty has been a major player in the soundtrack of my life. I love Tom Petty and his music.
Long ago, as a child, so not really that long ago, my dad introduced me and my brother’s to Tom Petty. One of my fondest memories from childhood was when my parents had taken us to an airshow to see the Air Force’s Thunderbirds. Before the Thunderbirds took to the air, there were a number acts including the Army’s Golden Knights. As the paratroopers took to the sky for their performance, Tom Petty’s Free Falling blared over the live speakers. It was an amazing moment that has stuck with me for nearly 20 years. Over the past couple of years, my boys have come to love Petty’s music as much (if not more) as me.
The news of his apparent demise and then the retraction just exacerbated the pain of the day. Concerts are supposed to be an escape where the artist and the fan are able to interact. They’re supposed to be a place where the music transports you and the experience leaves you feeling more connected to the musician and the music. Unbelievably, the sicko in Vegas made the concert his opportunity to destroy many peoples’ worlds in one fell swoop. There is no other word to describe him than evil.
Tonight we mourn the loss of innocent lives and a rock icon. Its been a heavy day; a that calls for courage. These kind of days can be destructive to our mental, emotional and physical health. Consequently, it is important to find ways to cope with the stress. For me and my family, it was continuing our athletic pursuits. While the bookends both had hockey tonight, I taught Zumba and ended class with a tribute to Tom Petty. I never thought I use a Travelling Wilbury’s song in Zumba, but I used Handle With Care for a cool down and it felt incredible. Finally, tonight I’ve peppered my blog with songs for inspiration. Enjoy and namaste.