My VIP for this week is Taylor Winston, a veteran of the Iraq War. He was in the vicinity of the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival on October 1, 2017, when he was given a free ticket and went to join his friends for the last act.
Winston had barely gotten a drink and found his friends when he heard the first shot. Then he heard a second shot. Then there came lots of shots, people running to find safety, and many of them falling. The gunman ultimately killed 60 people and wounded more than 400 other people. This was the “deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.” More people would have likely died if Winston had not jumped into action. Here is the story in his own words in an interview with Douglas Blair.
And I heard what sounded like gunfire, and no one was reacting…. And I heard it again. And then I really perked up because I was for sure that was gunfire from somewhere, but still no one was moving or doing anything.
And I could see other people starting to look around too with [the] concert still full going…. And then moments later, just pure chaos, bullets started raining down into the festival. People started screaming, falling all around. I started running, my initial reaction was instant fear. It felt like you were going to die.
You heard bullets getting closer and closer and closer. And as you were running, people were falling and they were just the unfortunate ones getting hit. We got to the back fence, and we were trying to get people over the fence….
But, once we got over the fence, I realized that people were still getting shot and help wasn’t going to be coming fast enough, because ambulances can’t go into an active shooting zone until it’s completely done and secure…. I thought to go to the employee parking lot and look for a vehicle ‘cause they often share vehicles and leave keys in them. And by the grace of God or some higher being, the first one I checked had keys in it.
And so, I drove back into the gunfire and started checking people to see who was the most critically injured and just loading them up in the bed of the truck and in the back seat and just cramming as many people as I could and sped off to the hospital.
Once we got to the hospital, we unloaded and no one was prepared for that scene. Just staff started going crazy. We were dumping bodies right in the lobby and the floor was pretty much painted red. And when I unloaded the last person, I looked at my friend Jennifer and said, “I have to go back.”
I was going to grab the military guy who I saw, because other people were starting to arrive doing a similar thing. There were many heroes that day….
So we drove back, loaded up again, took another full load. And we did two full trips and have been credited with saving a little over two dozen people. And we then parked the truck at Stoney’s and left it and went to our friends that night for safety….
What makes Winston an even bigger hero is that he refused to tell his story to reporters who were calling for more gun control. He walked away from many interviews and is just now telling his story.
And I’m going to use it to advocate for guns and be a big pro-2A influencer in the mix. And start getting into the conversation more and fight feelings with feelings, because what happened that day was pretty horrific and to still support guns I think is kind of hard to find. So….
At the end of the day, mass shootings are horrific. And I never, ever want to have anyone experience that. But I would go through it again and again and again to protect our gun rights because [the Second Amendment] protects us from something far worse and bigger, and that’s a potential tyrannical government committing genocide.
And if you look throughout history, it repeats itself and tens of millions [die]. Russia killed, I think, 65 million of their own people in the last hundred years, China, who even knows, there is genocide being committed all [over] the world right now and America is the only country that has the means to defend itself. Not only from a domestic threat, but a foreign threat as well.
We hope we never have to get to that point. And it may not make sense right now because everyone’s so peachy and comfortable and privileged to live in America. And I just think they’re very privileged. And I would say to them, educate yourself on guns, learn more about it. And I do find that there are good laws and we have many laws that are in place already. I don’t think we need more laws. We just need more education and just more resources going into helping everyone own a gun. That’s all right.
Winston was present during a mass shooting and survived. Yet, he does not think that more gun control will solve any problems. He is right that Americans have the right to keep and bear arms for the purpose of protecting themselves against a tyrannical government.