Your Mind in the Middle of a Mass-Shooting: a Survivor's Lesson
America is suffering through a bloody and ongoing epidemic; one for which there is no vaccine. On this week's episode, we're analyzing mass shootings and speaking to a woman who survived the worst mass shooting in US history with her children. You may have thought about what you would do during a mass shooting, but what do you do after? Physical wounds aren't the only wounds bullets can cause. As we hear, mental trauma can create scars that last a lifetime.
Listen to the first-hand account of Stacie Armentrout. She was injured but lived through the Las Vegas mass shooting in 2017. To this day, the bloodshed at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Vegas was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. After the lone gunman stopped firing, 58 people were dead and more than a staggering 850 were injured. Stacie was in the middle of it with her daughters.
What do you think in the middle of shooting may not be what your body lets you do. "Fight or flight" isn't always something you have physical control over.
"Locks are for honest people." Collier and Stacie discuss the bloodlust killers have, and question what can be done to stop these people beforehand.
Could you be going to work every day and sitting next to a potential mass murderer and not know it? Do you know the signs to look for? Stacie and Collier explore the importance of making those answers more mainstream.
Shootings and traumatic events can trigger emotional breakdowns in survivors. Hear why Stacie says it's okay to experience those feelings, and why it's essential to acknowledge that sometimes we can't control everything.
Victim's First Website: https://www.victimsfirst.org/
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Full Transcript Below:
Stacie Armentrout 0:02
You know nothing shakes you to your core like laying on top of your children as bullets are flying around you or hearing your child say things like why are they trying to kill me or are we going to die tonight? Hearing that out of the mouth of a 12-year-old.
Intro Stinger 0:29
Testimony continued today in the most notorious criminal trial in Richland County history. Dr. John Boyle is accused of killing his wife, Noreen, and burying her body in the basement of his new home in Erie, Pennsylvania. The 12-year-old son finally took the stand. I heard a scream, I heard a thud. It was about this loud. We the jury find the defendant guilty.
Collier Landry 0:49
When I was twelve years old, my testimony sent my father to prison for murdering my mother. This podcast serves as a type of therapy and reconciliation for myself, and it is my hope that it helps anyone who has experienced deception, betrayal, and dark trauma. I’m Collier Landry, and this is Moving Past Murder.
Hey viewers, what's going on? Welcome back to another episode of MoviePass murder. I'm your host Collier, Landry. And what's going on? Well, let's go. Let's go. Let's go. Well, what was going on is it was the Fourth of July weekend here in the United States. We celebrated all things with backyard barbecues, parades, fireworks, tie with family and friends, and unfortunately, what is appearing to be somewhat of a tradition in this country, mass shootings. It is very, very sad. We're going to talk about that this episode. But first, I want to give a shout-out to all of you guys that have been listening and tuning in every week to the podcast, you're really helping me grow it. This is a labor of love and just having your support via social media listening to the podcast by supporters on TikTok, Instagram, those of you that come to my Instagram lives every week 11am Pacific 2pm Eastern Time on Tuesdays. Thank you all for your support. And for those of you who support me on Patreon patreon.com/CollierLandry if you want to join if not, that's okay, too. I just appreciate the support getting the word out there about the podcast because it helps it grow and make this the thing that I really love to do. So I appreciate it. Just want to say that. Speaking of I read every week, a letter from one of my listeners and audience members just like you and this week's letter comes from beggin Peng and she says just another weirdo who stumbled upon your story via podcast they've dropped that the documentary. I'm sorry for the virtual nature. I just wanted to say a couple of things. Maybe they will resonate. I have found it impossible to grieve for someone who wasn't what they were supposed to be. It's like trying to grieve a shell or a ghost. I'm not sure what people are supposed to do when things were or aren't what they were supposed to be. I think that is the continuous struggle. When someone dies we mourn little by little we somewhat move on we remember always but ultimately we go on. I think we board a supposed to be somehow there is always an empty spot inside of us. An empty chair at the table that is supposed to be filled but hasn't been we feel grateful for those who tried to fill the spot. But we know it's supposed to be someone else. How do you grieve uh, supposed to grieve, a title grieve and an idea or image? Well, maggot, that is a very, very loaded question. I think that I guess in my case, maybe the supposed to be was my mother. And it ended up being you know, my wonderful adopted mother or my adoptive parents when I was supposed to have natural parents. Maybe that's what you're alluding to? Or maybe it's supposed to be what should have been my father, but instead is a sociopath and a narcissist to murdered my mother. So I'm going to take this in two parts. One of the things is, yeah, this is a very challenging thing that I had to work through a lot in my life. Because I think when I was initially getting used to the fact that look, you know, this was after the trial, and I remember being on like a summer vacation in Chautauqua in New York. And my foster parents had wanted to go there and they basically played family and I was left to sort of do stuff by myself which was fine with me because I just wanted to be away from Ohio. And one of the things that I was walking around just talk which was a lovely city, by the way are lovely little town in upstate New York, and it was really cool, but Um, one of the things I was thinking about is the loss of my mother. And obviously, the loss of my family unit, but mostly my mother, and not knowing if I was going to be adopted or where I was going, or if I was gonna go to the orphanage, or if I was, you know, I obviously wasn't going with any relatives because they didn't come forward. So I, I was sort of trying to reconcile with all that. And I think for me, I knew that my mother was never going to be around again, and like the physical presence, right. And I remember seeing this woman on the street. And I remember my mother used to wear Chanel Number five, and I remember my, my smelly descent, and I saw what was back of her head with a blonde ponytail. And I remember running after it, because I thought that this was my mom. And even though I knew it wasn't realistic, I just kind of had this thing. And then she disappeared, it was really, perhaps I was imagining it, you know, a kid, kind of, you know, a kid who's growing up trying to deal with trauma of that magnitude. I mean, of course, she might have, I don't know, some
visions, if you will. But I just remember thinking that I will always hold her memory and everything that we did together. But that is the past in a way of like, you know, my mother is always going to live through me, and nobody is going to replace her. And I'm not going to blame or feel bad for loving someone else in her place, whether that's a new parental figure, or whether that's a mentor in my life, or whether later on in life, if I was to be engaged in a relationship, and I had a woman that I loved, and you know, a lot of men that were boys to become men do seem to struggle with the image of their mother and their spouses and things of that nature. So I really, at that time, was just thinking, like, what would my mother really want where my mother won't be to sit and wallow or be upset or be sad and not embrace a better life? Or would she want me to be happy and embrace a better life because she knows that what it does honor her. And that was the conclusion that I made at that point, because I just was like, I'm not doing anything wrong by just being a kid. And, and moving past this, right. So the flip side, someone who was supposed to be there would have been my father. And my father made a choice that changed the course of my entire life and my family's life. And for him, I was grieving in a different way. And it was, I was grieving, not only through anger at what happened, but I was really grieving of like, Wow, dude, you just fucked up everything. And I realized that at that young age, I was like, the magnitude of what he had done. And it's why I became so passionate and doing what I'm continuing to do. Now, I started at 11 really doing this. And it was to really, to look at him and grieve like the person that he was not and could not be, and chose not to be. And understanding that that was okay. And at the same time, you know, I did the same thing in the film a murderer, man. So I'm sitting across from him and talking to him at the table that we finish, and I get up and I give him a hug. And I say, I love you, Bob. And I know that's a big moment. For a lot of people. It was a big moment for me, but I wasn't really thinking about because that's just how I feel. And I felt sorry for him. And I know that he did so much to destroy things in life for everyone. But I felt sorry for him that he chose to be that person. I don't know. That's my perspective on that. So speaking of making choices, you know, obviously a lot of families went out and made a choice to go to fireworks and parades this weekend and spend time with family and friends. And unfortunately, there was just chaos. this past July 4 weekend, there were shootings across the country, one of which was a mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois. Seven people were killed, dozens injured. The suspect is accused of firing 70 rounds from a high-powered rifle down into the crowd before disguising himself as a woman and escaping alongside flee victims. Few hours later, police officers were shot with gunshots way rang out during the fireworks celebration in Bangkok, Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia. Both of these officers were treated and released and these incidents are devastating. The horrifying images from them are reminiscent of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada, which occurred in 2017. So they're a gun ban had opened fire on a crowd of people that were attending the harvest festival JSON LD was just about ready to take the stage and play some music for people and 58 people died. This gentleman fired several semiautomatic rifles or even automatic rifles out of the window at the Mandalay Bay Hotel into this crowd down below. And I remember what it happened just be devastated. Devastated for the city devastated for the victims, you know, as a whole. I mean, I've been to Vegas a lot. It's not my favorite place in the world. But I most certainly have had a lot of fun there. And it's always a place that I never thought twice about walking around in your big crowds of people in casinos on the Strip. I never thought anything like that could happen. And I remember when that happened, it just really shook me to my core, almost like 911 Not quite, but it just felt like such a violation for so many reasons. So
on that note, today, I have a very special guest. Her name is Stacey Armentrout. And Stacy is a survivor of the Vegas shooting. And she's going to talk with us a little bit about her journey about what happened that day. What she experienced and what her advice is to those who are right now these families that are grieving at this moment and still when this episode airs on Friday, are grieving at this moment for the loss of their loved ones. And she has advice to share. She's lived through it she is a very active person, she is there for victims with victims the support need help she hooks them up with fellow victims and fellow survivors to help lift them up and to help answer some questions that they're struggling with. And the arbitrary shots were they sustained physical injuries while trying to escape she was there with her husband and their two daughters. And it was bad luck for that, but she's gonna share her story with us. So I'm pleased to welcome to the program. Stacey arbitraged. You know, obviously, there was a lot that went on this weekend outside of fireworks. And I want to thank you for coming on the program and sharing your experience of actually being in a mass shooting. Why don't you share with me your story of how you came it was the harvest festival? Is that correct?
Stacie Armentrout 12:23
Correct. It was the route 91 harvest festival here in Las Vegas. We were there I was there with my children when the mass shooting happened here. So you know, it's it's a journey. It was a very scary moment. scary night, you know, especially being there with my children. You know, nothing shakes you to your core, like laying on top of your children as bullets are flying around you or hearing your child say things like why are they trying to kill me? Or are we going to die tonight? Hearing that out of the mouth of a 12-year-old is as a parent as a mother is your core is to protect your kids, you know. So it's a very traumatic thing to hear and to think about them saying those kinds of things.
Collier Landry 13:22
So where exactly were you when all this took place in where you were? Where were you in the crowd? Were you I believe that he shot into the Jason Aldean concert. Is that correct? or Yes, Jason
Stacie Armentrout 13:35
Aldean had just taken the stage a little bit prior, we weren't in the very front of the crowd. But we weren't all the way in the back. We're kind of like in the middle ish area. And we were we had just gone back to our seats. We didn't, you know, kind of wander the festival. And we had just come back to we had some lawn chairs. And we were sitting in those lawn chairs when it started.
Collier Landry 13:57
And I would imagine, I mean, for myself if I was in a situation like that. I wouldn't know. I wouldn't think that somebody was actually shooting it. Was there a lot of disbelief and what like as to what was going on?
Stacie Armentrout 14:14
Yeah, and at first we didn't realize that it was gunshots, you know, and what first we kind of thought maybe it was fireworks out maybe towards the strip area. Because there are housing areas out that way. You know, maybe it was fireworks or something along those lines. Or did not realize at first what it was. And I think it took a few minutes for everyone to realize what it was because it was so unexpected. Like you're at a concert who's gonna think that this is gonna happen. You don't go to a concert thinking this is gonna happen to you. You don't go to a parade thinking that somebody's going to climb a roof and start shooting is very unexpected. So it does take a minute to kind of process what's going on. And then once you realize you can To go into fight or flight mode, and your body, your I think one thing that people have to understand is, you don't get a choice whether you're in fight or flight mode, your brain and your body just take over. And it does what it does. And there's no, oh my gosh, I should have gone into flight mode when I went into freeze, or I should have gone into fight when there's you can't control what you how you reacted, you can only control the aftermath. And your process of healing afterwards, there was no right or wrong way for anyone to have reacted that night. No right or wrong way for anybody to have behaved or done what they did. And I think that's the biggest trigger for a lot of survivors is, well, why did I run when I should have stayed back and help? Or why did I your brain just shuts off? And you go into autopilot, basically. And you don't get a choice? You just it is what it is?
Collier Landry 15:57
Sure. And that sort of leads me into my next My next question, which is, I feel like, again, people, you go back and you re analyze the situation, right? When you think like, I dealt with a lot of what if you know, with my father, like what if I could have you know, when I heard the scream, and then I heard the thuds What if I had run into the room and tried to save my mother? Well, the fact is, is that my mother was most likely already dead. And I would have been killed for sure. And for I think for for people who, you who have been through these types of circumstances, they try to feel like, Oh, I could have helped another person. But really, again, you're you have to put your own oxygen mask on, you have to look out for yourself. And then and try to keep home too, I would imagine.
Stacie Armentrout 16:49
Yeah, you know, for me, I would into the instinct of my children, you know, I need to protect the kids, I need to, you know, and I've been through that. Okay, well, could I have helped somebody else could I have done more to, you know, but then I have to stop. And remember, I can't live in that, you know, you can't because you're going to bury yourself in that guilt. You know, I don't know, maybe I could have done more, maybe I couldn't have. But at the end of the day, I protected my kids, I got the kids out. And what I can do now is help those that can help. You know, I may not have been able to help at that moment. But now I can.
Collier Landry 17:31
Stacy, did you or any of your family members? Did you guys sustain any physical injuries?
Stacie Armentrout 17:36
Yes, ma'am. I was injured. I had a knee injury that required surgery, kind of a blur of what happened. And I know we were running, I know I probably tripped over stuff. Um, so somewhere in the process of running and tripping over stuff and getting through, you know, food trucks and chairs and picnic tables and stuff like that, at the hospital somewhere along the line toward like, the meniscus, and a lot of the muscle tissue, I tore my knee basically, long story short, I tore my knee and cartilage and all the fun stuff that go into your knee and was tore. And it had to be repaired surgically.
Collier Landry 18:21
And how is the knee doing now?
Stacie Armentrout 18:23
I'm actually doing really good. So I had an amazing surgeon who figured out exactly what it was and took great care of me. And so I would say I'm at least 95% You know, not 100% with my knee, I still have some things here or there but it's definitely way better than it was before.
Collier Landry 18:49
Yeah, you have to work you have to work through your steps. And then sort of you have to work through your steps and sort of go back into now I can help others now I now that I'm coping with this, I mean, obviously you you know, I read an NPR article when you were talking about the you know, the 1000 oaks shooting which happened I believe a year after this if I'm not mistaken. Yeah. And you know, again and you are holding sort of space for those victims, those victims and and trying to show like you can come through this this circumstance you're going to be okay, what are some of those things that you you work with, with survivors and now in your in what you're doing?
Stacie Armentrout 19:32
A lot of it is networking because honestly, the best support I have ever gotten is from a fellow survivors. Because sometimes it's hard for somebody who hasn't been through that kind of a trauma to understand where I'm coming from, you know, they're like, you know, I have always struggled with the guilt of having my children there, for example. And other people who are not familiar with the trauma or the that type of situation, don't quite understand it. When I'm talking to them. They're kind of looking at me like, why would you feel that way. But when I'm talking to another survivor, who is a parent who had their children there, we can relate on that level, we can work through it together, we can build each other. And we can help each other. So a lot of it is just networking with other survivors, letting them know what you're feeling is okay. What you're experiencing is okay, what you're going through what you're thinking it's all okay, there's such a stigmatism, sometimes with mental illness, or mental well being that people it's not, we keep saying to each other. It's okay not to be okay. Because there's such a thing of, oh, I can't show that, but I'm not. Okay. So a lot of is just networking with other survivors. You know, trust victims first is a nonprofit organization that, you know, gets on the ground that helps victims of these types of things, and gets in front of it and helps, you know, make sure that they can get counseling and resources, because it goes beyond counseling, sometimes, you know, there's survivors who struggle about that can't leave their home, well, they lose their job, they lose their everything, because they are struggling so bad. So it's just kind of helping to get those resources there making sure that they have what they need to be able to move forward, as well.
Collier Landry 21:33
It's interesting, you talk about the mental health aspect, and I feel like and I was discussing this with my shrink race. Just today, actually, because of what had transpired this past weekend here in the States. And we were talking about, you know, there's a lot of he was saying, there's a lot of emphasis on when these things occur, a lot of emphasis on mental health. And really, what it is, is that is all that is all well and good more funding for mental health. And those are, those are healthy things. But he said, one of the things that he finds to be very prevalent with these types of mass shootings, especially, is is more of people with personality disorders that are affected that are people who who are sociopaths that have absolutely no empathy or compassion for other human beings or other human life. And that is how we're trying to explain it away. You know, often we say, well, okay, we're not gonna get rid of guns, but let's have more funding for mental health. But it's more of this awareness and understanding and recognizing these personality disorders. And these things that are that are prevalent, and one of the things I was, you know, forced to with the shooter, for this past weekend, is he or they had posted a bunch of YouTube videos, and there was a lot of talk online about their actions, and it wasn't wasn't flagged, and what do you what do you feel like as a survivor, and as someone who works with survivors, what the answer is, because this keeps happening, and it doesn't just happen in United States, it just happened in the Netherlands, I believe, or in Norway, right, like a week ago.
Stacie Armentrout 23:12
You know, mental health is great. But as you're right, it's also recognizing those that need, you know, okay. There, there is that personality disorder, or that disconnect, you know, it's, it's recognizing those and sometimes I think people are afraid to come forward and say, hey, my son, my brother, my friend, is exhibiting the signs of sociopath, or, you know, the kind of compassionate, they're afraid to come forward. And I think that we need to, again, it's okay to come forward, you need to because you don't know, necessarily what they're thinking in the back of their mind, you know? You can. So I think it's, we do need to put more emphasis on figuring out those those things, because here's the problem. You can control guns all you want. You can control weapons, like you want a person with ill intent, and is the intention to hurt and harm somebody else or other people, they're going to find a way, whether they have a gun, a car, a knife, a bomb, they're going to find a way. So it's not, oh, let's take this away, or let's take that away. It's how do we work with them? How do we identify those people that are at risk of carrying out these types of things, so that we can prevent it? And it's it's comes down to me better training or knowledge of, you know, things to recognize, you know, maybe it's a mental health exam if you want to buy a weapon of Any sort of gun, you know, maybe you need to have a mental health exam, you know, included with that background check. You know, if you have a concealed carry, you go through a course and you have to pass it and you have to show that you are capable and all those things. Mental health exam should be a part of that. And it should be something that would identify those sociopathic tendencies. And flag it, you know, they're still gonna find it on the street somewhere, but it could give us some leverage. Get in the schools, you know, some of these start exhibiting these behaviors earlier on in life, get in the schools and be proactive and help the mental health counselors and stuff, recognize what they're dealing with early on. And maybe that would help to.
Collier Landry 25:58
Yeah, and, you know, like you said, you can take away weapons or you can take away, you know, a car. I mean, I live in Santa Monica and, and in the early 2000s, there was a man who was ended up being convicted, he drove his car to the Santa Monica farmers market and took the lives of a significant amount of people just shopping in a farmers market. And that was a weapon. And, you know, it ultimately found out that he was he had that ill intent, but is this the you know, the old adage locks are for honest people, right? You don't have a lock. And if you don't believe in the lock, your you don't care about the lock, you'll steal the car, you'll steal the items, whatever it is, and you can't police this ill intent in a way or you can't control that by taking away firearms, taking away cars, you know, knives or weapons or, you know, fireworks or whatever that is, it's it's more of this fundamental societal route. At least from what I see, I mean, look, my father is a sociopath and a narcissist. And I mean, maybe he exhibited behaviors. I'm sure he did. You know, growing up, but he was a doctor, he was perceived as a healer. And you wouldn't necessarily I mean, I've come to find out through doing this program through speaking to people that you know, ultimately, my father, you do the people like that are drawn to the healing arts, if you will, because they're a healer, they get that satisfaction from what they're doing. And that plays right into their sociopathy and their narcissism, right. But I feel like people that choose to do these things, there are there have to be these behavioral patterns that are recognized. And we have, we can have aI on tick tock to scroll through things that we like that recognizes our patterns, there has to be some sort of intelligence that is going to assist you law enforcement, or
Stacie Armentrout 27:53
it's making sure that do you and I as general public know, how to recognize the narcissist, you know, those narcissistic behaviors? Sometimes they're so good at hiding in plain sight? That you don't see it? And, you know, I think the more that we put out there, those kinds of symptoms, or those kinds of behavior traits and take the stigma off of that, you know, knowledge is power, you know, is the general public? Do they know what to look for? Would you recognize it? You know, you go to work every day and work beside somebody. Do you know how to recognize that behavior in them? Or do you? Do you know what to look for? Do you Do you know what that is? You know, I've talked to people about narcissism before. And they looked at me and said, what is that? What that's again, that's some of that mental health acknowledgement and knowledge that needs to be made more mainstream, not hidden. And it's come a long way. I mean, it used to be, you know, she went from shell shock with soldiers to now calling it PTSD and those types of things, and we've gotten to where people understand it better. Same thing applies with those sociopathic tendencies and those types of things that come along with that.
Collier Landry 29:18
So you're from Las Vegas. That's where you live now. And that's where you Yeah, I've been here
Stacie Armentrout 29:23
for a number of years. I was born and raised here. But we've I've been here for quite a few years now.
Collier Landry 29:32
So you this was just an ordinary day, you were taking your kids out to this wonderful concert and your family and it ends in this sort of horror. I mean, from what I understand nothing like that. I mean, Las Vegas is such a populous place. Right. And you have tourists and you have so many so many people coming through that city is such a transient city, and in a lot of ways, right? And then I say, affectionately, I'm in my extra For the many years lives there was from there. So I spent a lot of time in Vegas. And, you know, there's constant crowds, and there's constant interaction with other people. When something like that happens, having lived there, not only your personal experience, but how did this how did this impact the city?
Stacie Armentrout 30:20
Um, yeah, I mean, in your right, it was just a normal day. You know, this was the first time I had been in attendance with the route 91 concert in previous years. This was the first time I take in my children. I felt like, we'd been to number concerts, but not, you know, a festival, multi big festival, just one night concerts. So it was it, you know, it was the last night, we'd had a great weekend, we were ready to enjoy, you know, the final night and kind of close it out and just have that moment. You know, as far as the city, I mean, it is a, you know, very populous. I don't think that it's kind of deterred anybody from coming. You know, I think that it's just everybody's kind of, okay, something a one off random act. So I don't first I don't haven't seen it really affect negatively on the crowds coming in, or anything like that, I think that maybe the perspective of how to protect those crowds, when I do come in, has changed a little bit, and maybe strategies, you know, when there are bigger festivals coming into town, on how to just kind of beef up security, I think that's probably the biggest thing that I've seen.
Collier Landry 31:43
It's such a sticky situation, when you have I mean, I just remember like driving in to Vegas, and you see, like, the places where you can fire like semi automatic weapons and his rifle ranges, right. And all these things. And so it almost that's encouraged, right, it's kind of a part of a tourism sort of fantasy, if you will. And then to have something like this happens so close to the strip, who was that? He was? The shooter was in Mandalay Bay, correct? Correct.
Stacie Armentrout 32:12
Yeah, I mean, it's kind of tough to see those things. But at the same time, you have to just take the perspective of we do live in a tourist town, this is what and I've had this conversation with other people and other survivors as our livelihoods depend on the tourists coming in. And so you kind of almost have to take that into account as part of your healing, everybody gets upset, because you do see those gun ranges or those types of things? And I'm like, it's not necessarily you have to take into account why those are here. You know, it's tourism, it's our livelihoods. You know, yeah, Vegas is, when you say Vegas, everything's Oh, the strip and all the casinos and stuff. People forget, off the strip is houses and schools, and, you know, people living day to day grocery stores. And while the tourism drives that ability for us to live here, and so I think we have to just take into account as we process what happened to us at that harvest festival, the environment we live in, you know, and where we live, and what our main source of income is for Las Vegas, which is the tourism. So you know, at some point, you just kind of have to balance the two and come to the terms within yourself that there's things that are going to be on site or you feel like are being unsaid or maybe not being as visible, because the job of the leaders are is to protect the tourism industry. Without it, we wouldn't have a Las Vegas. So you just kind of have to balance that you have to come to terms with that in yourself. Really, you know, it's not about coming to terms with it anywhere else, you have to come to terms with that within yourself and come to accept that. But and I think it's harder for people who don't live here to kind of figure that out, because they don't, you know, they go back to wherever they were from, you know, and they are in that environment. So it's a little more difficult for them to kind of, well, why aren't they doing more? Why don't we hear more, you're not going to because they're afraid of the down the road of what that's going to impact our livelihood, which is the tourism. So you just kind of have to work through that on your own on your own level, and figure that out for yourself.
Collier Landry 34:33
And is that has that become one of your main points of activism when working with others that are that find themselves in these circumstances?
Stacie Armentrout 34:41
Yeah, you know, it's one of the things I mentioned, you know, sometimes you're not going to you're never going to get all the answers that we want from that night. I'm never gonna get all the answers I want then I still have questions. And I think any survivor that's gone through a mass violence and you're always gonna have those Questions, why, why me? Why us why this, and you can drown yourself in that you can always drowned yourself in that and you can't focus on the why, why me, because you're going to drown yourself, you're not going to be able to move forward, you're not going to be able to put it in its place and build from there and move, keep moving forward, if you allow that to keep going. And it's harder done, than said, you know, it's easy to say, You can't do that, it's a lot harder to actually put that effort in there and do it, we can't change the past, I can't change the fact that I was there, I can't change the fact that my children are there. I can't change the fact, you know, all of us that were there, what I can do is take ownership of my healing and where I'm at, and try to move forward and move through the process myself. And just understand, I'm not gonna always have those answers. And I have to be okay with that.
Collier Landry 36:02
You got to put your own oxygen mask on first, most important, do
Stacie Armentrout 36:06
you know, and that's, you know, I took a big step back over the last couple of years, because I needed to do that, you know, I needed to take some time to heal myself in a lot of different ways and put my own oxygen mask on. Because I wasn't going to be any good to anyone if I didn't. And, you know, I think I'm in a place now where I feel like, I have done that. I was fourth July, of course, was yesterday, my daughter, I still have one child living at home. And yesterday was the first time since one October, since we're going to be one. But not only were we able to watch the fireworks, but we actually kind of enjoyed them. Fireworks has always been a trigger point for our PTSD and our trauma. And over the last few years, we've been kind of building towards that. But last night, we were actually able to enjoy the fireworks. And yeah, there was some tough moments. And there were some, you know, moments where we kind of startled and, but we were able to work through that. And that's the point that I make with everyone is baby, step it and you're gonna have setbacks, and that's okay. But you can't go backwards, you have to keep making those steps forward, even if they're little steps. And you have to focus on them first, then worry about everything else.
Collier Landry 37:24
So Stacey, would you say that the injuries that you sustained are not really the physical ones, but more of the emotional?
Stacie Armentrout 37:32
Definitely, you know, the the the emotional impact is, is by far greater than the physical.
Collier Landry 37:41
So it's always the injuries that you can't say, right? What would you say to the victims, and the families that have that are now dealing with the immediate aftermath of this weekend's violence. From this, from this Fourth of July, deadly Fourth of July weekend, which is I'm still in shock myself.
Stacie Armentrout 38:05
You know, the biggest thing is, ask for help. You know, it's okay to ask for help. It's okay to have those moments of doubting yourself doubting everything going on. That's okay. Give yourself time, be gentle with yourself. Don't get stuck there, you know, something I tell my kids, I've always told my kids do is we're going to have our moments to break down. But we're not going to unpack and stay there. Because we're going to pack it back up and keep moving forward. So give yourself time, give yourself grace, because you're going to have those moments, they're going to come at the most unexpected time. Like, you know, you're gonna be in the middle of the grocery store, and have that moment and just everything's gonna flood in. And the next thing you know, you're gonna be a hysterical mess. That's perfectly normal. And that's perfectly okay. There's nothing wrong with that. From one parent to another of parents, who had their children there. You know, I understand what you're feeling of the guilt of my children were there, and I'm supposed protecting my kids, now they're traumatized. It's not your fault, had no control over it. And again, it's easier said than done. And it's easier to trick your brain to tell you. It's easier for my brain to say that than it is from my heart. Because my heart is just like, Oh my God, what did I do? I've damaged my children for life. By brain is like, no, no, no, it wasn't your fault. Those internal struggles are fine. It does get better. You're never going to be over it. You're never gonna get past you're never going to be to the point where it's in the past and you never think about it again. That's, that's a myth. And I can't tell you how many people are going to tell you that. Get past it, get over it. That's not how this works. It's always going to be there. It's never gonna leave you. But it's going to get easier. And it's not going to get easier tomorrow, it's not going to get easier next week, it's been four and a half years, I finally made it through a fourth of July. Fireworks like, four and a half years later, I took that step. And there's other survivors who haven't been able to take that step. So it's okay, don't compare your progress of healing to somebody else's, because it's not. It's not a race,
Collier Landry 40:31
I say the same thing. It's not
Stacie Armentrout 40:33
it's, it's an individual journey. And you have to own your own federal authority, you have a choice here, neither make it like, let it make you better, or make you better. And don't let it make you better. Let it make you better use it for the good. Show that it's not going to, you're not going to become a bad person or use it as an excuse for bad behavior. You better write, right, you know, there's enough ugliness in this world don't need more. So use what you have to shine that light. You know,
Collier Landry 41:15
I a lot of people ask me, like, how can I keep such a? How can I not think that the world is a dark and bleak place with what happened to me and I would say the same thing to you. And I think that this just the world is a beautiful place, it's just, you choose your perspective on how you would look at it, you either let circumstances like this control who you are, and take over the rest of your life, or you decide to to affect change, and yourself and the world around you. And you give back or you you talk to people or you're that friend for the for these people that are going through this immediate trauma? What are some of the things that you've done and as far as like your specific like activism with this, with these shootings? And when this happens, like what are some specific things that you do?
Stacie Armentrout 42:04
You know, I, I'm, with my own healing process, and things that I've been through over the last couple years. I'm not out in the forefront, like I was in the beginning, most of what I'm doing is behind the scenes, helping get the word out, you know, like victims first, if there's funds that are being raised, helping to make sure that the funds go to the victims, that's a huge thing. That happens where funds raised, don't always go to victims. And it should, so helping on that, you know, signing letters or petitions isn't needed. Being a resource, if somebody needs somebody to talk to, you know, just little things that I call them little, but sometimes they're not, they're bigger things, you know, the 2am phone call from a certain other survivor who's struggling, that's okay, you know, I can, we can look talk about it, we can work through it together and just be that comfort, you know. So just those little things of just trying to be there and just let them know, it's okay. And making sure that they have the resources they that they need. And just to support.
Collier Landry 43:18
Yeah, support is support is the biggest thing and and not blaming yourself. Because God knows the circuit of these circumstances are well out of our control. Absolutely. Stacey, where can we find you and some of the things that you're doing?
Stacie Armentrout 43:39
Best thing to do is, you know, I'm on some of the social media. So I limit, I limit my social media, I limit the news, you know, I don't sit down and watch the news, just because of my own healing, I need to take that that time. You know, you can reach out to me on social media, that's fine. If you need somebody to talk to or just need somebody that understands where you're at, that's vailable to that. You can contact there's social media page route, anyone family, you can contact you that we can connect you with other survivors and somebody that's close to you. In the area, we can always, you know, use our resources to figure out who lives where I would say other than that, contact victims first and get in contact with them. They have amazing resources, an amazing group of people who understand the all the inner workings and really get in the forefront of these things on the ground and make sure that we're taking care of
Collier Landry 44:42
thank you so much for your time, Stacy Armentrout. And, you know, I'm glad that you finally were able to go out and enjoy your fourth, first Fourth of July and quite so many years. Yeah, it's so good. Yeah. Yeah. I'm sure it did well, you're proof that you can move past this and you can lead a better life and you can impact the lives of those around you, which is what you're doing. And I commend you for that. Thank you. You too. No, thank you. Right. All we can do. Yeah, for sure. For sure. Stacey Arbor trout, thank you so much. And thank you for coming on the program. You've been great. Awesome. Thank you. Like I said, I remember what the biggest shootings happened. I've spoken to many people about the even interviewed people that were there previously for other projects 58 people at a concert just enjoying that. And you know, there has been a lot of talk about how these things are uniquely American problem, but there was just a mass shooting and I believe Finland or Norway. It is happening. As I was saying to Stacy, during the interview, one of the things I was discussing with psychologist friend of mine is that a lot of these things are untreated personality disorders that and this this sociopathy that exists and people's general lack of empathy. I wish I knew the answers and I mean there is a disturbing image and I didn't want to mention it to Stacey but there's a there's a two year old child that was found with blood all over him at the event this last weekend in Highland Park and both of his parents died
I don't think there are any words that can describe the pain and that could describe just the Yeah, I mean, kids too. And I understand he's young and but he's gonna grow up without his parents. And I hope that this young child grows up and bakes the best of their life and makes the best much like I have it's heartbreaking. There's a GoFundMe set up if you guys want to check it out. We'll put some links in the show notes. I'm Collier Landry, and this is Moving Past Murder, thanks y'all.
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