Route 91 aftermath hits

Jason Aldean performing on Saturday Night Live on Saturday Oct. 7, 2017.

Taryn Beaufort | Opinion Editor | The USD Vista

On Tuesday Oct. 3,  Jason Aldean released a statement saying he decided to cancel the upcoming weekend shows “out of respect for the victims, their families, and our fans” following the Route 91 Harvest Festival tragedy. Many students had purchased tickets prior to the shooting in hopes of attending a country-filled evening with friends.


Most concertgoers would be upset to hear that one of their favorite performers had canceled the show. Even after purchasing her ticket months in advance, senior Hannah Healey understood why Aldean canceled the upcoming show.


“I had a feeling that he [Jason Aldean]  would cancel the show, but I was surprised to see how long it took for him to announce it,” Healey said. “I was expecting him to cancel the show right away, because many people need to mourn what happened and reflect on the horrible incident that happened in Las Vegas.”


It didn’t take Healey long to realize what would be the right thing to do. Upon hearing about the Las Vegas shooting, she instantly called to cancel her ticket to the upcoming show.


“I didn’t think it would be respectful to all the people at the Route 91 Harvest Festival if Jason Aldean were to play another concert just a week later,” Healey said. “I didn’t find it appropriate to pretend like nothing happened the week before and go out and have a good time listening to a concert.”


However, not all fans were expecting the concert to be canceled. Junior Nathan Sauer believed that despite the tragedy Aldean would continue with the tour, but ultimately understood why Aldean  decided to postpone the concert.


“It would have demonstrated the American spirit and perseverance that we do not let tragedy and destruction slow us down,” Sauer said. “If he had decided to play, I’m sure some sort of tribute would have occurred.”


The tragedy in Las Vegas did not change Sauer’s plans to attend Aldean’s scheduled San Diego concert. “I do not let disturbed acts disturb my day,” Sauer said. “The shooter was a coward and does not deserve the recognition of instilling fear into the average American. His name, not the act, should be forgotten.”


While Sauer believed that Aldean canceled the show because it would be too hard to go back on stage after what happened, not all students were like-minded. Junior Jeffrey Webb held the belief that there were other reasons that factored into the postponement of the concert.


“I believe Aldean canceled the concert solely for political or media-related reasons,” Webb said. “Maybe in his own heart he couldn’t see himself performing, but I believe he was pressured by publicists and the media to cancel concerts.”


However, Aldean made a live appearance on Saturday Night Live this past weekend. He performed several songs and he claimed that he is still struggling to understand what happened. He reached out to those affected by the calamity on SNL. “We hurt for you and we hurt with you, but you can be sure that we’re going to walk through these tough times together every step of the way,” Aldean said during his performance. “Because when America is at its best our bond and our spirit, it’s unbreakable.”


Webb was hopeful that Aldean would perform the rest of his scheduled tour.


“I think that by holding the concert, he, and the people attending, would show the world we will not be easily influenced by terrorism,” Webb said. “It would be a show of strength to the nation.”


While some might feel a little more fearful of attending the concert, Webb said he would not.

“I didn’t feel any fear toward attending the concert,” Webb said. “In fact, it almost made me want to attend more to show the rest of the world we cannot be swayed.”


The cancellation of the concert has left many students with mixed feelings. The aftermath of the Route 91 festival has left students unsure of their everyday safety and security. Movie theaters, night clubs, concerts, airports — it may seem like no place is safe.


The recent state of violence in the US caused senior Kaitlyn Kirkegaard to reevaluate what public events she will attend in the future.


“I’ve been hesitant to go to majorly populated events like midnight movie premieres, large festivals, and the San Diego Fair,” Kirkegaard said. “This fear does not cripple me or prevent me from leaving the house, it just makes me more cautious of my surroundings and following my gut feeling.”


As a result, Kirkegaard now puts more consideration into the venue of an event than she would have in the past.


“I am a little worried to attend a major event like that [a large concert],” Kirkegaard said. “It also makes me consider venues and their surroundings. I will be unlikely to go to something in a city with all the tall buildings around and not a lot of ways to easily leave the situation.”


Kirkegaard wondered how security measures could change to prevent violence.


“I think that security will be tighter and the venue is an important part too,” Kirkegaard said. “I think that the Vegas strip will probably enforce some sort of luggage screening process like at the airport. It makes me think of 9/11 and how the security system at airports became so much more intense.”


With all the shootings that have happened in public settings,  junior Andie Zaharias-Kern reconsidered how she feels about her personal safety.


“I am definitely more aware than I ever have been in these public settings,” Zaharias-Kern said. “At the same time, it is a reminder that life is short and you can’t hide from fun experiences because of fear.”


Last Wednesday Zaharias-Kern’s family attended a Coldplay concert in the Bay Area only a few days after the Las Vegas shooting.


“I had massive anxiety the night they were going to the concert,” Zaharias-Kern said. “I sent them all a text in our group chat at 8 p.m. saying, ‘I love you all.’”


When Zaharias-Kern learned that the Las Vegas shooter tried to target other major festivals prior to Route 91, the thought of loved ones attending a concert left her uneasy.


“It hit too close to home,” Zaharias-Kern said. “I didn’t know if the shooter was working with anyone or if someone would attempt to do something similar. There is just a lot of unknowns right now.”


It’s saddening to think that places meant for leisure activities may now be dangerous places to be.


“It’s a shame that these public spaces are tuning into ‘danger zones,’” Zaharias-Kern said. “There is so much negativity and bad happening in the world that these spaces are supposed to be an outlet for people to let loose and live freely. Not worry about being shot.”


Senior Ava O’Brien thinks there is more of an underlying issue when it comes to these mass shootings. There are many theories as to why the US has been experiencing such tragedies, including the need for stricter gun laws.


“I believe we have seen an increase [in violence] lately because of the easy access of guns,” O’Brien said. “There needs to be a change in gun laws.”


The Las Vegas shooting has been proclaimed the worst mass shooting in modern US history. Some have compared its impact to 9/11 because it could lead to procedural changes in hotels.


O’Brien believes that there will be change, but she is still unsure of how far those changes will go.

“I know that there has been discussion about security in hotels changing,” O’Brien said. “Perhaps they may have random bag checks or metal detectors that guests are required to enter upon arriving and leaving.”


The Route 91 Harvest Festival  demonstrated to USD students the unpredictability of their environments. What started out as a few occasional attacks making appearances on headlines has created a constant state of fear among students. The only thing to do is be more aware of their surroundings as they attend large public events.