At the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California, while thousands wondered what was happening in the panic following the gunfire, only a few found themselves thinking, “not again.”
Alicia Olive escaped the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history only to have to run for her life again two years later. She recalled thinking during Sunday’s terrifying event when a gunman unleashed a hail of bullets in Gilroy.
“Oh man, this is not happening again,” she said.
On October 1, 2017, Olive lived through the massacre at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas. She said she sank into a “really 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 KTXL.
Olive said it took almost two years after the Vegas shooting to start to feel safe in public places again.
Then, she and two friends, who she met in a Las Vegas shooting support group, ended up in Gilroy on Sunday, July 28.
Now all three of them have survived two mass shootings.
“After the Vegas shooting, I felt like I would be there again, and it happened. It makes you angry,” said Olive.
Olive said she and her friends were leaving the festival but gunshots rang out before they got to the exit. Three people were killed and 12 injured.
“I said, ‘I can’t believe this is happening again,’ ” she said.
“We were trying to find somewhere to get cover,” she added.
Olive said massacres really can happen anywhere, but accepting tragedy as inevitable isn’t enough. Now she’s going to focus on making a difference and supporting those survivors who need it.
“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.”