I could say no words can describe how I feel right now except that would be a lie. I fluctuate from wanting to cry about 6 times a day, to not being able to swallow the lump in my throat, to feeling a bit numb. To say I was her friend is a bit presumptuous. I traveled with her for about a week in Thailand and she’s really a friend of a friend. But she was a phenomenal woman and I really respected and admired her. Her name was Michelle Vo and she was one of the 58 slaughtered by a madman in Las Vegas. The Washington Post captured her last moments here on Earth. She would go to a country music festival on her own just because she had a budding love for country music. She was fearless. She also would help out an almost-stranger tangled up with the Thai police just because he needed help (that's how I got to know her). She was unbelievably generous. I remember after that trip marveling at the kindness, toughness and smarts of this woman. And now she’s gone. They say that the good ones go first, but I also thought that was a bias since the dead can do no wrong. But that’s not an exaggeration. I feel a kind of survivor’s guilt because she definitely was one of the best, and far stronger and kinder than me.
This has made me realize this is my limit. When 20 children were slaughtered at Sandy Hook I felt the tragedy but did nothing. When the largest mass shooting of modern history happened at Orlando again I did nothing. When this year’s largest mass shooting in modern history took away a friend I cannot do nothing. Much like the musician at the shooting, I feel enough is enough. So what can I do? I live in a democratic nation. I should be able to do something right?
I texted 'ACT' to 64433. That got me on a mailing list. But really how reliable is that because I also saw "text ‘silencer' at 64433" and on the Everytown.org site it said text 'Together'. I don’t think any of this works or really does anything except mollify the masses.
So then I researched associations working towards stricter gun laws like Everytown, Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, and American for Responsible Solutions. They told me to contact my congressman and to donate money to their cause (but really is throwing money at the situation enough? I went with Everytown because if it's good enough for Everlane it's good enough for me).
Then I researched my representatives. Did they receive NRA blood money?
Not my current representatives.
So now what? In Vegas citizens voted and passed this gun law. And it still didn’t go into effect because of the attorney general. But I refuse to feel hopeless.
I'm not sure where I'm going to go from here but I know I need to spend time and money on this because I cannot let Michelle's death be in vain.
P.S. Michelle's brother in law has created a GoFundMe page here to help her family pay for her memorial service if you would like to donate. Thank you so much if you do.
P.P.S One of my favorite bloggers wrote such a great post on all this with way more information than I provided here.