The entire nation has been shocked and saddened by the horrific shooting Sunday night at a country music concert in Las Vegas, Nevada.
With over 50 people dead and hundreds wounded at the hands of the gunman, dozens of stories about the innocent victims have been shared online and on television.
One victim was 28-year-old Christopher Roybal of North Colorado Springs, Colorado. According to a co-worker, Roybal was known for his “big teddy bear smile and infectious laughter.” He attended Sunday night’s concert in Las Vegas with his mother to celebrate his birthday.
Roybal was a Navy veteran who served his country in Afghanistan. In a Facebook post from this past July, Roybal wrote about the combat he saw overseas – specifically about what it is like to be shot at – in order to communicate the realities of a horrifying situation that most of us will never experience. Sadly, Roybal did not know how poignant the words he wrote in July would become due to the recent events in Las Vegas. Read Christopher Roybal’s beautifully written Facebook post below.
What’s it like being shot at?”
A question people ask because it’s something that less that 1% of our American population will ever experience. Especially one on a daily basis. My response has always been the same, not one filled with a sense of pride or ego, but an answer filled with truth and genuine fear/anger.
*which by the way, go hand in hand*
Depending on my level of intoxication, I respond with nothing short of the truth from first hand experience.
Entering with what our national News channels would report at the time as “the deadliest place on earth” I was excited for my first taste of what real combat would be. What it would be like to be a real gunfighter in the modern day Wild Wild West. My first fight was something I never will forget.
Finishing up what was supposed to be a quick 4-hour foot patrol, I remember placing my hand on the Stryker and telling Bella how well she did. Hearing the most distinct sounds of a whip cracking and pinging of metal off of the vehicle I just had my hand resting on is something that most see in movies.
I remember that first day, not sure how to feel. It was never fear, to be honest, mass confusion. Sensory overload…followed by the most amount of natural adrenaline that could never be duplicated through a needle. I was excited, angry and manic. Ready to take on what became normal everyday life in the months to follow. Taking on the fight head on, grabbing the figurative “Bull by the horns”.
Unfortunately, as the fights continue and as they as increase in numbers and violence, that excitement fades and the anger is all that’s left. The anger stays, long after your friends have died, the lives you’ve taken are buried and your boots are placed neatly in a box in some storage unit. Still covered in the dirt you’ve refused to wash off for fear of forgetting the most raw emotions you as a human being will ever feel again.
What’s it like to be shot at? It’s a nightmare no amount of drugs, no amount of therapy and no amount of drunk talks with your war veteran buddies will ever be able to escape.
Reading the comments on his Facebook post is an emotional experience.