On Monday night, the lights on the Las Vegas Strip dimmed in deference to the victims of the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history—one in which 58 innocent people were killed and over 500 more wounded during the final day of a three-day, open-air country-music festival that had been peacefully and joyously held there for the past four years.

“As I’m running, the shots seem like they’re getting closer and louder—it sounded like someone was following, hunting us—and no matter how far we ran, it sounded like they were louder and closer,” she said. “There would be a short pause between each round, so just when you think it’s over, just when you stop running and start to catch your breath, it starts up again,” Kinya Claiborne told Fortini.

“Las Vegas looms large in our country’s psyche,” says Las Vegas resident and writer Amanda Fortini. And while many “people turn their noses up at the Strip for its vulgarity and bad taste, but its licensed debauchery, its judgment-free atmosphere, has a national significance. The puncturing of the illusion of safety, too, is a reason for mourning,” Fortini insists.

Here, Fortini speaks with several concertgoers who were lucky enough to escape the murder and mayhem and make it out alive.

Read more of their stories at The New Yorker

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