Where were you a week ago today?
Last Thursday. September 28th?
In Las Vegas, a week ago today, at about this very hour, in fact, Stephen Paddock was checking into the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
But there was a problem.
The two-bedroom suite he requested wasn't available.
The one with a view of the country music Route 91 Harvest Festival, for which they were just setting up.
It would kick off the next day.
It would run for three days.
And Stephen Paddock wanted to get there early.
So did thousands of others, eager to be part of what they were calling "the big Las Vegas sleepover."
This wasn't just an event, this was country music's Lollapalooza.
And a week ago today, even in this busiest of convention cities, The Harvest Festival was the talk of the town. And the destination for the hordes coming from seemingly everywhere descending on this town.
Including Paddock, who would finally move to the two-room suite that he always wanted, two days later, Saturday.
But on that day, as on this day one week ago, reports were that he had a lot of luggage. An awful lot of luggage for one guy.
Paddock didn't use a bellman.
He carried it on his own in multiple trips.
No one noticed. No one cared.
This is Vegas, after all, all types of people carry all types of stuff in and out of all types of casinos.
Including this day, some of the world's top country artists.
Eric Church would take the stage on Friday.
Followed by Lee Brice, Brothers Osborne and Michael Ray.
Saturday would bring "hip hop cross-over Sam Hunt."
Maren Morris was coming too. So were Bobby Bones and Brett Young.
Then the big finale on Sunday with Jason Aldean.
Yet a week ago today, it hadn't even started.
A week ago today, no one had any idea how it would end.
Only that a general admission pass for the entire festival cost 210 bucks, and a VIP package for the works, up to 750 bucks.
Yet a week ago today the whole thing was already sold out.
And a week ago today, Stephen Paddock was taking it all in. All of it.
Where those thousands would gather. And where they might flee.
Hard to say. He kept maids away, and save room service now and then, he kept pretty much everyone else away too.
Reports were he called to complain about a guy below him playing music too loud.
Country music, as it turned out. So the guy turned it down. Perhaps consoled by the country music event across the street ready to rev up.
He probably wondered about that guy who was complaining about him from up above.
But a week ago, who knew what--days later-- was about to come hailing down.
Concert-goers who didn't see it coming.
A party-hearty town that couldn't know what was unfolding.
Still days away.
But set in motion seven days ago today.
Before everything changed.
58 innocent human beings who couldn't fathom they had but days to live.
Hundreds more facing injuries from which they could face weeks, months, if not years from which to recover.
A week ago today we were focused on a president and his tax cuts under fire.
Unaware all we'd soon be talking about were those gathered for a concert on a Las Vegas night under fire.
A week ago today, so many just planning fun. Now, too many planning funerals.
Unimaginable then. Incomprehensible now.
Impossible then. Reality now.
They say time is cruel.
Because you never know.
As if it's any less cruel. Looking back because you do know.
That's the tough part.
In a world where we get so used to tragedies.
A week ago today, we just weren't prepared...
For this one.