I’m mad as hell. And sad as hell.
Been that way since early Monday morning and will be for some time.
But at least I have my loved ones to hug and tell them I love them.
Bakersfield Speedway owner Scott Schweitzer and his wife, Crissy, can no longer hug their daughter Bailey.
Their sons, Dakota and Brody, can no longer give their sister a hard time, as brothers are known to do. Or a hug, which brothers also give.
Dakota’s two loving children will never see their adoring aunt again.
The close-knit family was torn apart late Sunday night when a madman opened fire from the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas and sprayed a torrent of bullets into a crowd of around 22,000 people attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival as Jason Aldean was nearing the end of his performance.
Fifty-eight people died in the massacre, including 20-year old Bailey Schweitzer, who was attending the concert with her mother and other friends.
Gunned down in the prime of her life while doing nothing more than trying to enjoy life.
Five dozen souls perished, including another Bakersfield resident, Jack Beaton, Kelsey Meadows of Taft and former Shafter resident Victor Link.
More than 500 wounded, including Jessica Carey of Bakersfield, who has served as trophy girl several times at Bakersfield Speedway over the years.
Schweitzer and his family took over operation of Bakersfield Speedway more than a decade ago and it is truly a family operation.
Scott’s mother, Dixie, can be found at the pit ticket booth on race nights and his brothers, Shawn and Randy, have been instrumental in keeping the dirt track going. Shawn drives the water truck on race days, keeping pathways wet and dust down in the pit area, and also spraying water on the track when needed.
Crissy is often in the back office, or the concession area, or a ticket booth.
Sons of the Schweitzer brothers currently race, or have raced, at the track.
Scott was a doting father to his only daughter and had taken her under his wing and was immersing her in various duties at the track. He was giving Bailey room to grow, to allow her to have input and fresh ideas for the racing scene and she was active on social media. Father and daughter could often be seen together on Facebook Live videos, promoting a night of racing or recapping a night of racing.
My heart aches for Scott and his family.
I can’t fathom the grief they are going through. Or any of the other families going through the same torment.
My heart aches for the extended racing community in Bakersfield, who are some of the most generous and caring people I have ever met.
They are numb with pain.
Scott and Crissy will soon bury their daughter.
Somehow the entire family will have to bond together, function somewhat normally and get ready for the biggest race of the year — the 32nd annual Bud Nationals on Oct. 13-14.
It doesn’t seem right.
It doesn’t seem fair.
But the world marches on, tragedy or not.
And the Schweitzer family are racers. Running a race track is what they do and what they will continue to do.
There will be an untold number of people there to help, to lean on, to offer what comfort they can.
But it will never be the same.
The lives of hundreds of families were forever altered on Sunday night.
And for that I remain sad.