When I became a parent my fears intensified. Beaches went from being a place of leisure to shark infested, riptide filled horrors. Strangers went from being mysterious to perverts and predators who are watching me. Then, my biggest fear (being shot) went from unlikely to likely. Shootings, like anyone else, shake me to my core. My heart breaks when terrorists murder innocent people, and I lock myself in my house, fearful of leaving for any reason. Last night, after the Las Vegas shooting, was no different.

People say it’ll never happen to you. That it’s unlikely to ever happen. “The odds of a shooting…” How can we call statistics when shootings happen? We call shooters “lone wolf” and claim they’re mentally ill. Doesn’t that mean it could happen at any time, as long as someone snaps? That doesn’t bring me comfort.

When I was a little girl in church we would sing a song called “Be Not Afraid.” It was a hymn about God protecting you throughout life. This used to provide me comfort, but it doesn’t anymore. How can a God so loving let something this horrific happen over, and over again? I’ve lost all faith.

I want to not be afraid. I want to think it’s unlikely to ever happen, but I’m afraid for myself, for my son, for my family. I’m afraid because I grew up believing America was the safest country in the world, and event after event it’s proven untrue. I want to be brave for my son, but I’m afraid to send him to school because someone might want to hurt him.

Shootings are a reality of everyday life. I’m writing this to tell you it’s okay to be afraid. It’s okay to be scared. Don’t let anyone take that away from you, but don’t let your fear take you away from living your life.

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Prayers and love to all the victims and families in Vegas.