In a shooting scare at the Global Citizen Music Festival, only a sound can incite fear

Megan Lafond, Staff Writer

This past weekend, a shooting scare wreaked havoc at the Global Citizen Music Festival in New York City, in which thousands of festival-goers mistook the popping sound of a bottle for a gunshot. Jordan Hirn, a friend of mine and student at New York University who attended the event described the scare, saying, “I looked up from where I was sitting with my friends to see hordes of people running, screaming that there is a shooter … No one knew what was going on, and when I looked back at my friends running behind me, the look in their eyes will be ingrained in my mind forever.” The fear that immediately came over Hirn when he thought he would become a part of the growing statistic of those affected by a mass shooting was indescribable.

Hirn’s response not only upset me, but also made me angry; we now live in a world where a loud noise is mistaken for a gunshot.

Recently, public events have become overstocked with armed police officers and people now walk in groups to avoid being alone in case of an incident. Many believe that those who started the stampede at the Global Citizen Music Festival overreacted, but how are we supposed to judge someone’s reaction when they are overcome with fear and helplessness? What if it really was a gunshot? Would they have overreacted then, or would their reaction have been considered the right thing?

What made me the most angry was how Assistant Chief of the NYPD Kathleen O’Reilly reacted, saying, “Everyone relax, calm down … hopefully the show is going to go on.” To tell traumatized pedestrians to calm down, as if their emotions aren’t warranted or necessary, is beyond disrespectful. I would think the safety of innocent people is more important than the festival continuing on as quickly as possible.

Although there was no gunshot, real people are forever affected because a mere sound is the key to inciting fear. Now, any loud noise could be mistaken for a gunshot, and people may fear their lives are endangered. I think it is safe to say that no one feels completely safe in public anymore. Whenever I attend events now, I look to find the nearest exits at concert venues, movie theaters and even in restaurants because you never know what could happen.

According to Business Insider, there have been 154 mass shootings already in 2018 and there are still 3 months left- 154 mass shootings in 274 days since 2018 began. It is time for change; we need stricter gun laws. This means limitations on age and background checks on those purchasing firearms. With these changes, people will hopefully no longer associate loud noises with gunshots and the necessity to run.

“This was a day that was supposed to be spent with friends talking about global change and ending world hunger, but at 7:30 p.m. that all changed,” Hirn said.

So, I ask you, how would you have acted in this time of terror for so many? It’s time to talk about gun control. We cannot live like this anymore.

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