1) Empire State Building Shooting on 8/24 - 2 dead, 9 wounded
Killer: Jeffrey Johnson, 58
Extremely gruesome picture of a victim: https://twitter.com/alexgoldmark/status/239053359292772352/photo/1
2) Wisconsin Sikh Temple Mass Shooting on 8/6 - 7 Die
Killer: Wade Michael Page, 40
Victims who died:
- Sita Singh, 41
- Prakash Singh, 39
- Ranjit Singh, 49
- Satwant Singh Kaleka, 65
- Subegh Singh, 84
- Parmjit Kaur, 41
3) Colorado Movie Theater Shooting on 7/20: 12 Dead, 71 Victims The Largest Mass Shooting
Killer: James Holmes, 24
Victims who died:
- Jessica Ghawi, 24
- Veronica Moser-Sullivan, 6
- John T. Larimer, 27
- Alexander J. Boik, 18
- Jesse E. Childress, 29
- Jonathan T. Blunk, 26
- Rebecca Ann Wingo, 32
- Alex M. Sullivan, 27
- Gordon W. Cowdon, 52
- Micayla C. Medek, 23
- Alexander C. Teves, 24
- Matthew R. McQuinn, 27
My heart goes out to all the victims and their families. This madness has to end. It’s insane. Why do we need assault weapons which are intended to fire a hundred bullets in a matter of minutes? They have no purpose other than to kill a large number of people. Military and police need AK47s. You and I don’t.
We need gun control laws to make it difficult for such psychopaths to own guns. If the idea behind the relaxed gun laws is to allow citizens to defend themselves in such situations, then let it be on record, not a single shot was fired in defense. Such incidents will happen again but let’s do our part to educate & raise awareness of the consequences of lax gun laws. The voice of reason needs to be vocal and loud to match the pitch of those who oppose gun control. Enough people have died already. No more.
Meanwhile, here’s a chilling perspective from someone who survived the Toronto shooting last month but, sadly, not this one:
I was shown how fragile life was on Saturday. I saw the terror on bystanders’ faces. I saw the victims of a senseless crime. I saw lives change. I was reminded that we don’t know when or where our time on Earth will end. When or where we will breathe our last breath. For one man, it was in the middle of a busy food court on a Saturday evening.
I say all the time that every moment we have to live our life is a blessing. So often I have found myself taking it for granted. Every hug from a family member. Every laugh we share with friends. Even the times of solitude are all blessings. Every second of every day is a gift. After Saturday evening, I know I truly understand how blessed I am for each second I am given.
I feel like I am overreacting about what I experienced. But I can’t help but be thankful for whatever caused me to make the choices that I made that day. My mind keeps replaying what I saw over in my head. I hope the victims make a full recovery. I wish I could shake this odd feeling from my chest. The feeling that’s reminding me how blessed I am. The same feeling that made me leave the Eaton Center. The feeling that may have potentially saved my life.
There are three rules to how I travel. Just three.
- Rule #1 There is no plan. No agenda. No itinerary. You know when you’re arriving and when you’re leaving. What happens in between, you don’t know. You give up control. You give up planning. You give up expectations.
- Rule #2 There is no concept of time. You are in no hurry to go anywhere. You don’t have to be at some place at some time. You spend as much time as you want to or as little as you want to. No more. No less.
- Rule #3 Go someplace unlike the place you come from. If you live in a city, don’t go to another city. Leave the civilization behind. Leave complexity behind. Leave the known behind.
It’s about relaxing the grip on the certainties in life. It’s about exposing yourself to completely new places, meeting new people, experiencing new culture, tasting new food and living a new lifestyle. You open yourself up completely to the place. You take in whatever it gives you, without being judgmental. Without comparing it to your home or the last place you visited. When you give up control and you give up expectations - you prepare yourself for new experiences. Your sensitivity heightens. Small experiences feel big. Minor moments feel huge. With no expectations, nothing disappoints.
This idea of travel is not for everyone. It takes courage. Be forewarned, when you have no agenda and no plan there are times or days when you’ll have nothing to do. Nothing. Emptiness. Boredom. You have to be willing to be absolutely comfortable with that idea. Some of my friends in the past went nuts because they’re used to going someplace, seeing something and doing something. Most of us are used to the tour-bus style of traveling and we dread the idea of having nothing to do while traveling.
Rather than read the guidebooks, allow yourself to stumble upon new experiences. The best adventures happen when we step into unknown. Leave it to serendipity. You might not love it during the travel but you’ll come back feeling fulfilled. It will happen. You will love it. If you don’t - you can always go back to those damn cruise ships.
In the process, you’ll meet people and see places that you had only seen in the National Geographic. Your experiences will be visceral and more memorable. Experiences that you can never get staying in a luxury hotel on some beach resort. You’ll have stories to tell to your grandchildren. There’s simply no other way to travel.
So don’t wait around. Don’t get old thinking you’ll do it. Block that calendar, get an atlas, start to explore and create new experiences. If you find those experiences - they’ll last forever. Go for it.
“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” - Lao Tzu