In the panic following the gunfire at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, thousands wondered what was happening. Only a few found themselves thinking, “not again.”
“Oh man, this is not happening again,” Alicia Olive recalled thinking Sunday as she escaped the mass shooting in Gilroy — her second.
On October 1, 2017, Olive survived the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas. She said she entered a deep depression following the tragedy, which left 58 people dead and hundreds of others injured.
“I would go into either — if it’s a bar or sometimes just a crowded area — and something about it, it just, I start to panic,” Olive told KTLA sister station KTXL in Sacramento.
Olive said it took almost two years to start to feel safe in public places again.
Then, she ended up in Gilroy, in the company of two friends she met in a Las Vegas shooting support group.
All three of them are part of a small group of Americans with a distinction none of them wants: they’ve survived two mass shootings.
“After the Vegas shooting, I felt like I would be there again, and it happened,” Olive said. “It makes you angry.”
Olive said she was near the concert stage where the shooter entered the festival. She and her friends were leaving, but before they got to the exit, gunshots rang out.
“I said, ‘I can’t believe this is happening again.’ We were trying to find somewhere to get cover,” she said.
Olive said massacres really can happen anywhere, but accepting tragedy as inevitable isn’t enough.
“We can’t tell that to the families that lost someone. Say, ‘Oh well that’s life, that’s America,'” she said. “It’s not enough. It’s time to say enough is enough.”