I can’t describe to you the panic I felt when I first heard the shots ringing through the air; the sounds of people screaming and dropping to the floor. I can’t describe to you the terror I felt as I hid, curled into a ball, underneath a counter, praying that one of my worst nightmares wasn’t about to come true; hoping that the 911 operators my coworker was urgently dialing would get to me before the bullets did. And I can’t describe to you the relief I felt, washing over me like a tidal wave, when I learned that what I thought was an active shooter was actually just an old car backfiring a few times.
But I can tell you this: Our society is really, really messed up if something as simple as a worn-down vehicle slightly malfunctioning can cause two hundred people who were simply ice-skating over the holiday break to think that, even for a second, their very lives were in peril.
No, it’s not that we’re so irrationally paranoid about something happening to us that our mind immediately jumps to the worst conclusions when hearing a loud bang. It’s the fact that we have reason to be paranoid, and a good one at that – according to Business Insider, when defined as “a single incident in which four or more people are shot and/or killed”, there have been three hundred and seven mass shootings in the United States in 2018.
This was only a painful reminder that these recurring tragedies are much more modern reality than appalling dystopia.