Dealing with American Catastrophe on Foreign Soil

Kalee Shomo Glasgow School of Art, Scotland


October 3, 2017

Obviously this week hasn’t gotten off to a great start in the U.S. regarding the awful attack in Las Vegas and the passing of one of the world’s greatest rock and roll icons, Tom Petty. I just wanted to write a little blog post about what I experienced the past few days, in Scotland, regarding these incidents, specifically Las Vegas.

It certainly shook me on Monday morning when I woke up in my flat to exploding messages, news feeds, and social media notifications about the senseless act of hate that occurred at the country music festival in Vegas on Sunday night. I started the day with tears in my eyes, as music holds such a special place in my heart and there are these horrible people out there making places of music about hatred and fear, instead of unity and home. I went to class on Monday afternoon, after watching countless graphic videos and reading every article I could find to try and wrap my head around how someone could do something like this and, to my surprise, things were relatively normal. As I scrolled through my Instagram feed every county artist, and other American artists, had posted multiple prayers and healing hopes for Vegas and everyone involved. After what felt like hours of class, someone finally asked me why I seemed so upset, and so I told them.

Of course no one responded hatefully, but they were confused why I specifically was so upset about this, and I was honestly hesitant about my response. I don’t know if it was because music holds such a special place in my heart, or if I just felt disconnected from the U.S. in a time of utter sadness, most likely both, but I really was affected. It was the first time a large catastrophe like this happened and not only was I not home to seek comfort in my family and friends, but I was actually experiencing a moment where the people around me hardly knew anything about it, and no one had much to say. While I know we are all products of our environment, and we prioritize of course the things that affect us directly, but these past few days have certainly opened my eyes to those concepts in their full capacity.

Of course I give my absolute condolences to everyone affected by this senseless act of hate, as I am sure everyone no matter their location would do. And I pray, too, that the families and friends of all the victims will get through this somehow. Music will always be a place of warmth and comfort for me, and I hope that one day we can finally get past all this hate and fear so that home can be shared with everyone.


Scotland Semester