Last Monday, Tom Petty played the last show of his 40th Anniversary Tour at the Hollywood Bowl. He died today, Oct. 2, 2017, at age 66, after being rushed to the hospital early this morning from his home in Malibu after suffering cardiac arrest.
Last night, thousands of fans headed to a country music festival in Las Vegas. At least 59 people never made it home and more than 500 others were injured in the mass shooting by a lone gunman.
News of both consumed my day, as it did for many others around the world.
One man, a musical legend, left behind 40 years of music that was part of the soundtrack of the lives of multiple generations. The other man, the alleged gunman, was known as a gambling accountant who will forever be remembered for carnage and devastation.
It’s difficult to process both of these, in different ways. Both weigh so heavily. The loss of Tom Petty, who has contributed to much to our lives through music, feels the same way to me as when David Bowie and Prince died. I hadn’t realized the impact of their lives until after they died because that’s when I realized how much their music was part of my life through the years. Petty’s death is another reminder that our time on earth is finite – he was only 66 and still touring last week! He was a part of my childhood through his MTV videos. I’ve listened to his music on the radio for decades and I have a Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Greatest Hits CD in my music collection.
The reality of what happened in Las Vegas last night hasn’t sunk in yet. So many victims doing what so many of us do: attend a concert. An emergency room nurse from Tennessee, a police records technician from California, a commercial fisherman from Alaska, a single mother of four. So heartbreaking. So senseless.
What led the gunman to do such a thing? The story will develop over time – we may not even have the correct information at this time. (Such as with Tom Petty – after it was reported that his family pulled him off life support, it was widely reported that he died. Then reports came out that he was still alive and fighting for his life. Then tonight, the family released a statement that he died at 8:40 p.m., hours after it was originally reported.)
Tom Petty will live on as we listen to his music. The victims of the Las Vegas concert shooting will live on in the memories of their family and friends and we should also devote some time to learning their stories. (Their stories are told here.) As for the shooter, I think we are curious why he would do such a horrific thing, but I don’t even want to mention his name here.
All of this on top of the recent devastation caused by hurricanes, earthquakes, floods and fires. There are so many people struggling right now, and this doesn’t even include all the regular struggles people face, such as financial and health issues. It’s overwhelming to think about.
According to the Las Vegas Sun, a GoFundMe drive has raised $2.5 million to help the victims and MGM Resorts International has offered free rooms at the Bellagio for the victims.
Let’s each try to do what we can to be kind to each other and to bring in some goodness to the world.
Here’s a video from Tom Petty’s last show, where he had the opportunity to thank his fans for “40 years of a really great time.”
There has been a lot of tragedy recently and it is hard to take it all in and sort through it. Music, is something that I think is universal and helps us all to come through the other side.