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Request[AMA Request] Julie Andrews

Oct 5th 2017 by MadnessByDesign • 19 Questions • 134 Points

My short bio: I wrote down my experience Tuesday morning to capture the details while they were still vivid and fresh.

https://imgur.com/gallery/KKfSp

A lot of friends and strangers, both those whom were there and those who weren't said that it helped them in different ways.

We're all going to deal with this in our own ways. So far, I've felt that it's tough to talk about or write down, but afterwards I feel slightly less terrible.

Sitting in my Woodland Hills apartment while my girlfriend Jamie is sleeping. Not doing much to spend my time right now, so I figured I'd try and have a discussion.

Hoping this may help with the mental health process, as well as potentially help others.

My Proof: https://imgur.com/gallery/KKfSp & here are more photos before things went down. https://imgur.com/gallery/1sBPs

Q:

What were your thoughts while it was happening? I've heard soldiers say that they don't think about risks in the heat of the moment, but they realize how terrifying a moment was after the adrenaline goes away. Is that true? That in the moment your instincts are about survival over fear?

A:

That is a completely apt description, when the bullets start flying the adrenaline kicks in and even though in a deep level you know you're in danger it's not something you have time to process. Once the adrenaline started to subside a few hours later, only then were we able to being to acknowledge just what happened.

Keep in mind, we had zero idea if there was a single shooter or multiple. The echo, reverb, bounce of the bullets made it extremely hard to echo-locate. I wrote a lot of this down in the first IMGUR link https://imgur.com/gallery/KKfSp but I get it if no one reads it, it's a long read.

If you watch a lot of different videos from concert goers though, you'll realize that they stayed put for 5-10 mins into the shooting inside the venue. Staying put and debating 'is that even gun fire?'. From >300 yards away, for those who haven't found themselves in that situation or at least watched body cam footage from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria or other. It wouldn't necessarily being recognizable.

During the 3rd volley is when we hit the ground, where I jumped on top of the girls. There were only 2 moments in the event where I thought about dying. This was the first, and I thought to myself "Well if I'm going to die, this isn't the worst way to do it...attempting to shield friends". Later in the night we got trapped in a small hotel room and there was a surge in panic that a shooter was entering the lobby. Once trapped there, the second thought was "This is going to be a shit way to die, I don't want to die like this. Sitting ducks, fish in a barrel"


Q:

I want to thank you for sharing your story. I signed up for reddit today, (I am an occasional lurker) only to respond to your story.

You are an incredible writer and I urge you to consider doing more of it; whatever the genre. I travelled with you on the horrific journey which you describe so poignantly. I travelled every step of way; on the edge of my seat, tears in my eyes, cheering and rallying for you, imagining how you were feeling, and what you must have been thinking. There are few author's I've read that have transported me the way your words did. My heart aches for you, for Jamie, those with you that night, and for all who are impacted by this senseless tragedy.

While I realize your trauma may never fully heal, you are well on your way, and I applaud your openness and willingness to share your emotions. The authenticity and genuineness are incredibly palpable and shine through in your writing. I couldn't help but feel connected to you, even though we are worlds apart. I laughed when you talked about boot whiskey, I caught my breath each time you hit a road block, and each time you had to assess the safety of a location - no-one should have to do that. I was incredibly touched when you suggested someone send you a bill for the lights you had to smash. You are a good and noble person. You have reminded me that life can change in an instant, and I am so sorry you had to endure the torture of that night.

It is Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada. I am headed out to share Thanksgiving dinner with family, and I feel incredibly fortunate. Tonight, I will raise a glass to you, to yours, and to all those impacted. I wish you peace of mind in the days and weeks to come. I hope you consider writing more, whether on this topic or another. You have a gift.

A:

Thank you very much, your kind words have been a nice reprieve this morning. Jamie went to work for the first time today and I've been in our tiny apartment with our 2 dogs, been a bit tougher than I expected.

I've never done much writing, when I sat down and wrote the original story words just flew out of pure emotion and adrenaline. Didn't take time to think about the message or what was being put down. Not sure if I'll ever be able to go back into that kind of writing zone in my life. My Dad is an author though on mediation and company to company circumstances, so there's a link there with some deeper writing knowledge.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours this weekend. It's cliche to say and the impact has never hit me like this week, but enjoy the ones you love and hold them tight. My family is back up north and will be doing the same for Thanksgiving this weekend.

When the time is right though, I may sit down and write again. After lots of talks with friends who were there we've been able to fill in more pieces of the puzzle. Lots of different stories, or alternate perspectives on the same event.

Jamie, Nicole, Kelsey and I went into my work briefly and sat down in our livestreaming video room. A couple coworkers were very kind to help us sit down and just talk about the situation and record it. Might hold on to that video for posterity sake or might share it with our family if they're ready. We'll see.

Anyways, Happy Thanksgiving. Slice of a piece of turkey and pumpkin pie for me please!


Q:

I only just read, lower down in this thread, that you are Canadian - is that correct? BC, right? Where?

I bet today is hard, being alone, without Jamie. I wonder how she is doing at work. It seems really early to return to work, but maybe that is what is needed. Some sense of normalcy? What kind of dogs do you have? I'm home alone with my two dogs today too, but I'm not sitting with the experience you currently sit with. My husband went on the last fly fishing trip of the season this morning. I chose to stay home, he went with a few friends. We are avid fly fishers, southern Alberta, close to the BC border. Such beautiful country.

I appreciate that you might not be able to go back to that writing zone. I can't imagine you'd ever want to, but I'll say it again, it was incredibly moving to read. Interesting that your Dad is an author.

I'm glad you recorded a debrief of sorts and I hope it contributed to the healing.

A:

Couple pics of our dirty dogs after camping and off roading. https://imgur.com/a/5Lipt

Born and raised in Calgary, moved down to LA at 19 w/ a garbage bag of clothes, Hockey gear and an Xbox to attend college for the video game industry.

All my family is in Canada, Mom/Gram in Calgary, Sister who is due with her first child in Toronto. My Dad, aunts uncles, sister and niece/nephew are all around BC. My home base is Rosen Lake which is midway between Cranbrook and Fernie. Next to a tiny little town called Jaffray, BC.

My Dad, also an avid outdoorsman was backpacking all weekend out by Elk Lake Lodge. When we got to the stairwell to a semblence of safety is when we reached out to our family. Didn't want our parents and loved ones to see the news and then not immediately know we were safe. Couldn't really use the phone to talk because we were trying to keep as quiet as possible. So my Dad, comes down the mountain Monday since it began snowing up top and gets in his truck. Satellite radio plays the news about the shooting and he's now in pure fear and panic mode. No cell phone reception out there, the valley roads are so deep, it was clouded cover. He had 90 mins of driving down back roads before he got any cell reception. The second he did though the texts came flooding in, including mine.

He's had a hard time as well going through a similar wide range of emotions that all of us are.

I'm going to attempt to hit the gym now, not sure if iron therapy will help or if the clanging and crowds will make me 'nope' out of there immediately.

Here's our pups Chief & Dixie, Samoyeds who have been extra cuddly since we've got back. https://imgur.com/a/5Lipt

Looking forward to being back out at the cabin for Xmas, do some snowshowing, snowboarding, camp fires, skating on the lake, tobogganing and being with family. Hugs will be tighter, discussion will be longer, love will be greater.


Q:

I'm in Calgary, born and raised as well. Kudos for heading down to LA at 19! How exciting! I also know Jaffray quite well, we've done some fly fishing in that area. We spend most summer weekends south of the Crowsnest Pass, and in Fernie. There was indeed a huge dump of snow out that way, we were south of Beaver Mines and left the day before the big dump. It is surreal to think you were calling family, that your Dad heard on sattelite, we are often out of range in that area. I can't imagine the terror of the entire situation for you being there, and for your family. I can't begin to understand what you are all going through. I'm so sorry. I wish you all as much peace of mind as you can find.

Oh, Chief and Dixie - gorgeous dogs, great names! Dogs feel our energy, right? I'm so glad they are there to comfort you both. We have a Golden Retriever, and a Golden Bernese Mountain dog cross, (the boutique name is, "Golden Mountain Dog" a fabulously fancy name for a mutt, albeit an amazing mutt) they are the loves of our lives.

Do what feels right. If you 'nope' out of that gym, you do. Trust your instincts, do what feels best. You have lots of healing to do, but you are doing it! One step at a time.

Peace and love to you and yours.

A:

A friend messaged me last night, I felt it pertinent info to help put another puzzle pieces together. He's not ready yet to talk about it or write it down.

He was a bud that was the last to be confirmed alive, we were receiving phone calls and texts from his close friends and family until the early hours of the morning. We just had no way to confirm.

Anyways, without further ado.

https://imgur.com/Ej5AgSY


Q:

How are you feeling emotionally right now? And, are you and your girlfriend going to seek therapy? Even if you didn't get shot, there are real traumas from living through this. All politics aside, I'm just here to say I'm so sorry you had to go through this. My best friend's father and step family were at the concert in the crowd when the shooting started as well. They all made it out alive, but he has been refusing to answer her calls and has been very vague talking to her through texting. He said he was in the hospital but wouldn't elaborate, and she thinks he maybe got shot. You're a hero for getting on top of your loved ones and protecting them, and I'm so glad that you and your girlfriend both still have each other. Every named victim I see, my heart breaks all over again. With every picture, and every article about their lives, I just wish I could change what happened. I know this was very traumatic for you, and I sincerely hope that you and your girlfriend can recover emotionally and that you will be able to live your lives again. Also, you both might still be in shock, and it's okay to really let yourself feel your emotions, and please don't have survivors guilt because you are not the person who did this.

A:

Thank you for your kind words.

We will be seeking therapy, luckily my job has pretty quality insurance coverage that we're both under. Going to make some calls tomorrow to track down someone semi-local that has experience with these types of heavy trauma incidents.

For us, we're experiencing every emotion on the spectrum, there and back again. It's part of the process and we tell each other, what you're feeling is fine. What you're feeling is natural. Take a moment to acknowledge how you feel.

A lot of my friends who made it out are dealing with things in their own way. Some are shut down, others are talking openly. There's no correct timeline for this I don't think. Just as long as we deal and heal in a time that works for each of us individually.

We all had different, unique experiences to say the least. We all saw very different things too.

Our hearts ache, for those who were hit, those who were lost and their loved ones. Jamie and I have been together for 5.5 years and are extremely close.

Oddly enough, just a week prior we were doing our usual frugal date night where we pour some stiff drinks, head to our apartment hot tub and just talk. We had a deep conversation and I told her unprompted that if anything were to ever happen to me, if I were to die. That I would want her to grieve, I would want her to be with her family. Then in time, once she has healed I want her to find another to hold her and love her and be her best friend. This conversation flashed in my head a few times during the chaos of the initial 15 mins.

On the therapy front though, this...writing it all down helps a bit.


Q:

Did it sounds like shots were being fired from multiple directions?

Videos I have seen show flashes from multiple windows.

A:

100% I thought shots were coming from all directions. Sound, echo, the random pattern shot, all contributed to having a very hard time figuring out where they were originating from. I'll tell you what though, if you hear the air snap and crack around you, those are bullets nearby.

To add to just how unreliable eye witness accounts are, I'll add in my own. The very first volley of bullets, I thought came from the Northeast. However, Jamie my girlfriend who was right beside me thought they came from the west. Sound bounces, it's tough to track. Some people were able to figure out where the bullets were coming from fairly quickly. Us? Not at all, we hit the ground on the 3rd volley and after it ended we were making new exits to get out.

There were no other shooters shooting out of the Mandalay Bay though (at least from a suite that wasn't his on the 32nd). Particularly in those videos where lights are strobing and flashing. It's pretty easy to find photos of Mandalay and you can confirm there are no other broken windows that were shot out of. My friends even have photos from the next morning to back this up.


Q:

Another thing to point out... if the ammo he was using is rated for over 1,125 feet per second (FPS) then those bullets are travelling faster than the speed of sound. If that's the case then when you hear the gun fire, the bullet has already reached it's destination. Those "snaps/cracks" you hear in the air are 'likely' little sonic booms.

Here's a great 5 minute animated video on YouTube that can explain a sonic boom to a 5-year-old: The sonic boom problem - Katerina Kaouri

Another video showing and explaining supersonic "cracks" from bullets Supersonic Bullets & Crack!?

A:

Thank you very much for the links and info. If you have additional relevant videos like this, please send them my way.

Attempting to put any data and knowledge of this event together has helped Jamie and I work through this.

Much appreciated.


Q:

What has surprised you most about news coverage of this tragedy? What do you think they are missing/under-reporting, or conversely, what do they seem to be placing an unjustifiably high emphasis on?

A:

ehhh, I've been asked by a few friends similar questions. Leading into false flag territory, which correct me if I'm wrong is the idea that everything we're told by the media isn't the full picture.

Fact is we aren't told everything because the investigation is ongoing. The police/FBI won't reveal camera footage or certain details in order to not dilute their own investigation. We're on reddit, a lot of people here have done their internet sleuthing after similar atrocities and how often do they actually help and not end up with innocent people completely fucked in different capacities.

Anyways, back to the main question.

I can't wait to find out more, I read all the articles, I read all the reports, I talk to my friends who were there with me. I want more information. I think the media is reporting the information they have and any reputable media should report w/ sources.

I've seen the youtube videos, the conspiracy theories, the alternate timelines and alternate ideas of what happened. So far I haven't seen a single one that I agree with. I'll wait until I have solid video/audio or official evidence that anything else occurred that we don't know.

Even Jamies Mom came over with comfort food every night since we got home. She leans pretty far right and is more likely to watch the Alex Jones or other kind of 'far out there' media types. I understand the process, people who are looking for clues and answers are doing the same thing I am. Problem is, they're falling for the Texas Bullseye theory dilemma. A guy shoots up the side of the barn, then walks over and paints a bullseye around a tight grouping of bullets. It's drawing conclusions from incomplete data or false data.

I'll be candid and say that yes, 100% during the event I thought there were multiple shooters. Now that we have more information, I understand it wasn't the case (until proven otherwise). There's no benefit of holding back that kind of information from the public.

Then again, shit if I know. We'll just wait and see, I want everyone involved to get some sort of closure to find out why this happened.

It's a pivotal moment in life, a moment that comes around so rarely. We can point to this point in time and see everything before Route 91 massacre and then everything afterwards is post-event.


Q:

what is your stance on gun control?

A:

It's the topic du jour during and after these events isn't it. in the last 2 pages of my account that I wrote down https://imgur.com/gallery/KKfSp you'll find that I did get my hands on a small 9mm pistol.

Here's the thing though, rightwing, leftwing. I think everyone should think for themselves and use their best judgement. I don't believe in following a party and agreeing with everything they stand for. I lean left, my mom is a lesbian, I'm from Canada and I work in the video game industry. However, there are lots of things on the right side of the spectrum that I agree with as well.

To get to your question though, I think there is ton of misinformation on both sides of the gun control debate. The silencer debate is silly in my somewhat un-educated mind. To my knowledge they're more for the hearing quality of the shooter, but the gun fire is still loud as fuck. Furthermore it doesn't benefit the range, accuracy or heat of the barrel so it's an argument on both sides that is full of half truths, somewhat flawed logic and this is a very divided nation.

I hope for gun control that can regulate the industry tighter. I think there are a lot of gun control laws that are completely laughable that anyone can bypass. A lot of half measures and nonsense.

At the same time, I've taken a few pistol and rifle classes. I'm not a marksman, I barely would say that I'm trained. I also enjoy the rare ocassion going out to the desert here in California and firing off some rifles at tamarack or shotgunning skeet.

So..that was a long winded response to your question that I kind of skirted around. It's a tough issue. I know for comparable 1st world nations, the number of people murdered by guns is much higher in the states than elsewhere. I don't have the answers, I can't point out whats right or wrong. And I'll be honest, I'm not someone that people should look to for guidance because I'm not a professional nor have I done extensive scientific reading on the subject. I would love to read hard peer reviewed scientific papers that can point us all in the right direction.

I'll leave the talking heads on TV and youtube to do their thing, but on all sides they're mostly full of shit and pandering to their position/base.


Q:

thanks! Glad you made it out of there.

A:

Me too, lots of minor injuries but we came out unscathed. Now it's on to the mental aspect which I'm told is a long process. But talking about it and writing it down helps even though my adrenaline and heart rate are through the roof right now as I put the words down.


Q:

You are so brave

A:

I appreciate the sentiment but I'm not all that brave. Many heroes went back to help out. I held to my friends and stayed put. I knew I couldn't leave them but also have survivors guilt at times. Which I understand is normal, shitty part of healing.

Thanks though.


Q:

One of my college professors told me a story once about a time when he was crossing the street with his girlfriend and a driver on his phone hit them in the crosswalk. She broke her pelvis, and I'm not sure exactly what happened to him.. something with his back.

He said "kids, if you ever go through an experience like that with a significant other, you just break up with them. It's the shitty sad truth."

It sounded odd to me at the time, but I'm glad you can confirm it's not true.

(Your experience was obviously far more severe than this but I'm sure you get the point)

A:

Damn, that is some intense advice from the ole' Prof.

Things would be incredibly more difficult if only one of us went through it and the other wasn't entirely able to comfort or understand everything that is happening.

For Jamie and I, we're closer than ever. Been together 5.5 years, and both of us have an urge to just go get hitched at the Santa Barbara courthouse. Why wait, we're best friends and are ready.

Then, I pump the brakes and realize that Jamie deserves to have a happy wedding not overshadowed by this massacre. Gameplan was always to get her through College this December before making the next step.


Q:

For levity's sake, I thought I'd impart a fact regarding this statement:

In the past (and perhaps the present), truck drivers used the call sign "good buddy" when they wanted to have some good ol' gay truck stop sex. I was informed by my grandfather to never say those words in/around a truck stop or CB radio.

EDIT: I sincerely hope you and your girlfriend, as well as the hundreds directly affected by this, get through this alright.

A:

That is hilarious and I had zero idea. Well then...might be time to find some different quick terms.


Q:

What advice would you give to anyone attending a public event like this in the future?

A:

Typical stuff that we've all read before. Plan your exits, make a meeting point, go with friends, make sure someone knows where you are if you leave the group. So in that regard, nothing mind blowingly earth shattering for advice.

Even if I had taken every precaution I just listed though, that all flies right out the window once an event like this starts. We made our own exit, we had no meeting place, we immediately lost 80% of our group including my friends sister.

It's a fight or flight instinct that will kick in. I wrote in my long lengthy imgur post that in that venue I felt 10 foot tall and bullet proof. When I hit the ground on those girls, I was just a meatbag waiting to get hit.

Many won't attend events like this I know. Others will do our best to live the best version of our lives that we can and that will probably include big outings like this.

I guess if I can stop rambling, I'd say that if you can assess the situation make concious decisions for yourself. Don't always follow the herd, which may be easier said than done. My biggest fear while we were zig zagging out of the venue was that we were being pushed in a direction that would lead us to a new killbox. A new area where additional shooters would be waiting for us and mow us down like cattle.

So that thought, of being ushered into a new killbox lead us on a very zig zagging route. The primary goal was to get out, stay low, ensure we had all 4 with us and get away from the crowd as fast as possible. W/ ~22k people though, it's not exactly an easy task and you have almost zero data to asses if you're making the right decision. I made some shit decisions that night, but I am 100% thankful to my girls for allowing me to take charge and work together as a single unit, the 4 of us.

I've watched videos where people are squabbling with one another, do we get up, do we stay, where is the shooter, is it even a shooter situation, are people overreacting, etc. etc.

If you're with people, someone has to make a call. The most level headed calm person should be making the call.

I owe those girls my life to be honest.


Q:

In one of the videos posted to YouTube, I noticed one man yelling "It's just fireworks! Stop! It's just fireworks!" I sure know now to never listen to anyone who thinks they know what they're talking about. I'm sure that man has a guilty conscience right now.

A:

Yea I saw that one too, I've seen a few videos like that. People not taking cover, not understanding the incredible danger they were in even though there were bodies on the ground nearby. Maybe it was shock, it's also hard to go from enjoying a concert to completely committing your mind to the fact that you're being shot at and have a highest chance in your life thus far of dying.

There are many videos of people who stayed for many many many volleys of gunfire. In their POV, if you got up and ran you died. We all had no idea if the gunmen was on the 32nd floor or if he was on ground level and waiting for people to pop their heads up.

Pure, raw, unfiltered chaos, panic, fear and terror.


Q:

Before any of the events of that night happened, what was your evening's worst case scenario? I mean like, dropping your phone or losing your keys or whatever.

A:

Not being able to sneak in all the Whiskey that was packed in my tight briefs and was chaffing the shit out of my balls. The girls each had a couple 3 oz. flasks in their boots. To be candid, I'm frugal. Not living off coupons that require 100 tricks and transactions to get groceries. But we aren't blingy people. My truck's side view mirror is held together by duct tape for the past 2 months after I went off roading and it popped off, held together by wires. We both drive mid 2000 era vehicles. We spend most nights in, and rarely go out on the town. So to get to my point...I'll blow a grand for an entire weekend in vegas for everything included, but hell if I'm about to attempt to get day drunk off $10-15 whisky in the venue.

So yea, that was my biggest concern walking into the venue.

Inside the venue, biggest concern was just tracking our immediate close friends down. At times, Jamie and I would split for random bathroom breaks, grab a water and a cup of ice and a coke to put our liquor in. My concern there would be that whomever had left wouldn't be able to physically get back to the group due to the crowds.

The night would have been infinitely more terrifying if we were separated when the massacre began. Absolutely heart wrenching. Random chance, is all it is.


Q:

It sounds like you guys were having a pretty good time up to that point. I'm glad you and your friends are safe and I hope you take care of yourselves and take care of each other.

A:

Thanks, we working on it. Outpouring of support that we all are receiving has been tremendous and brought us all closer. I believe we're going to attempt to get back together sometime soon, to talk and mourn and hug one another. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.


Q:

Will you be hesitant to return to Vegas now?

A:

Hesitant, sure that's natural. We don't intend on living fearful lives but we also havnt dealt with our mental well being yet. Ask me again in a week and I may have a different answer.

Our intent is to heal, then carry on and live better lives.

Hope we hit our goals.


Q:

How did you "survive" something that didn't happen? Typical crisis actor.

A:

Is...that the best you have?