For those of you who don’t know, my family and I are based out of Las Vegas, Nevada, and what happened last week was truly heartbreaking, devastating, and horrific.
While my family and I are safe, a lot of friends and friends of friends weren’t as lucky.
Still, I Was Only One Block Away
I was only one block away from the Las Vegas shooting when it happened. All weekend, I was down on the strip, which is unusual for me.
However, I’m a part of group called the Dad’s Married to Doctors group on Facebook. It’s a Facebook group with 2,800+ hundred members, and there is also a website. Just like it sounds, the group is made up of a bunch of dads who are married to doctors. They do an annual trip every year to Vegas, so I was excited that many of the members would be visiting my hometown.
Last weekend was that annual trip, and as such, I went down to the strip to meet them and have fun. Some of them decided to stay an extra day past their meet-up, so we went to the pre-season Vegas Golden Knights hockey game which was really fun (even though they lost.) Then, we decided to go out to dinner together.
After all of that happened, I said my goodbyes. As I turned to walk away towards my car, that’s where the terror began.
100 People Running & Screaming
When I turned to head towards my car, there were probably close to 100 people who were running and screaming.
They were yelling, “There’s a sniper outside!” “There’s a shooter outside!” “Run run run!” So, I turned around and bolted back towards the elevators of the hotel where I’d just left my DMD group buddies. I saw them, and we all ran to the elevators together and got in.
We were so close to where the shooting happened that we shared an elevator with a couple of people who were at the concert and had run for their lives.
They were really, really scared, and they said there was a shooter outside the New York New York hotel and that they were being shot at during the Route 91 festival. It was all so surreal, and when we got up to the room where my DMD buddies were staying, we turned on the TV.
At first, media was saying that 2 people were dead and 20 injured. From the reports it seemed like the sound from them was echoing everywhere. He’d been firing for over 10 minutes, so I knew the death toll was going to be far worse than that (even though I hoped I was wrong.)
The Scariest Part
The worst part of the whole tragic situation was that we had no idea what was truly going on. There were bomb threats. There were multiple shooters being announced at the hotels right next door to us. We didn’t know if we were safe or not.
I texted a friend who is the director of security at a nearby casino, and he instructed me to stay inside and stay away from windows. I couldn’t leave even if I wanted to, though. The whole strip was locked down. Every cop was in the city, and I knew it was really bad when they started making the media stay back half a mile.
As we were watching the news and the death count go up on the TV in the hotel room, I was just praying that I didn’t know anyone there and praying for the innocent people who were just enjoying a concert.
I was also so thankful that I wasn’t actually there. My wife loves country music, and we go to seemingly every country concert in town. We easily could have been there, but she had to work early the next day, so we decided I’d spend the night out with the DMD group instead.
Ultimately, last week will be a week I’ll never forget, much as I would like to. I would never wish that feeling on anyone – the feeling of being scared, nervous, confused, and terrified all at once. It’s hard to not know what’s going on, to not know if there’s a bomb nearby, and to not know whether or not you’re safe or if you’ll see your family again.
Eventually, it came out that reports of other shootings were false. The lockdown was lifted and at about 4 AM, I went to my car, got in it, and drove home and hugged my wife. It was a really traumatic event, though, and it made me thankful I’ve done so much planning for the unexpected.
Have You Planned for the Unexpected?
No one likes thinking about their own mortality. It’s a tough conversation to have, and it’s not a pleasant one.
Most people think something won’t happen to them in the short term. Most people think they will live really long lives (and I truly hope they do.)
Still, estate planning is extremely important, especially if you have kids. You need to think about wills, power of attorneys, healthcare directives, and then there’s trusts. Trusts are what protects your financial assets, but the others are integral when it comes to your death.
Again, I know this isn’t a pleasant topic to think about but my experience last week made me want to mention it even more.
I mean, I was able to walk away when almost 60 people died, and none of them expected to that something like this would happen to them.
It would be so easy to think that nothing bad could happen to me, but it could have. Still, I’m glad I have things in place personally to shelter and provide for my family if something happens to me. We have a full estate plan including life insurance. And, I truly believe that you really don’t have a full financial plan until you have an estate plan too.
- To learn more about estate planning, please tune in to today’s podcast episode featuring Chris Burke, a lawyer who specializes in estate and business planning. There, we’ll go into much more detail about the key components of an estate plan.
- Lastly, please consider supporting the victims in Las Vegas by donating to the fundraising campaign led by Zappos. Zappos has pledged to match all donations up to $1,000,000 in total. Here is the link to support.