The horrific shooting Sunday night in Las Vegas struck home in North Dakota. Vegas has been a destination for North Dakotans for years and the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day country music party, was a natural draw.
So it’s no surprise a lot of North Dakotans were attending the concert. Andrew Gudmunson, a Minot Realtor, was among the more than 500 wounded or injured. He’s a former University of North Dakota baseball and football player. Gudmunson played at UND from 2007 to 2009 after transferring from Nebraska. He played first base, third base and right field. He hit over .300 as a sophomore and senior.
He graduated from Minot High School in 2005 and was named all-state four times in baseball. He led Minot to the state title as a senior.
Gudmunson underwent surgery and more surgeries are expected.
At the moment he’s the only North Dakotan known to be injured in the massacre.
Others, however, had tales of terror to share.
Hallie Johnsrud, Watford City, told of fleeing the concert with her husband and being separated from friends. She feared she might never see her 2-year-old and 3-month-old children again. Johnsrud, husband and friends escaped unhurt. Beau and Adrianne Flom and two other couples from Fargo were at the concert when the shooting started. They also managed to escape unharmed.
While these North Dakotans became separated in the chaos during the shooting they found help from other visitors to Vegas. They were given shelter in other hotel rooms until they could retrieve their belongings from their rooms. Amid the bloodshed people were helping each other. It’s understandable that in the situation there would be a mad rush to escape. It’s gratifying that many people took the time to help others.
With thousands of people caught up in the madness there were many instances of courage. The simple act of staying with a friend or loved one during the shooting took bravery.
We may never know what prompted one man to commit such an atrocious act, but we know what inspired first responders and concertgoers. They weren’t going to abandon those in need. One man’s evil act was met many times over by people displaying courage and kindness under fire.
The Las Vegas shooting will likely leave some unwilling to attend big events in the future. That’s unfortunate, but understandable. Beau Flom says the experience won’t prevent him from going to similar events again. “Random acts of terrorism can’t affect how you live your life,” he said.
That’s a good attitude. Hopefully, most people can adopt it. We can’t hide in our homes, we must enjoy life to the fullest.