*NOTES- PLEASE READ BEFORE CONTINUING:
-This article was written around 3 PM on October 2, 2017. All information discussed is based on what had been released by authorities and talked about in numerous news articles at that time.
-I do not consider myself an expert on any topics discussed—I’m simply a college student who felt the need to write down what was going through my head as a result of the events of October 1st.
-I do not mean any disrespect or offense to anyone affected by this event or anyone that may disagree with my points throughout the article. Once again, I stated my own personal thoughts and beliefs as they ran through my mind at the time of sitting down to write this.
I woke up this morning to the news of the deadly shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada last night. At first, upon seeing the title on a Snapchat news story, I thought, “oh no, that sounds horrible,” and proceeded to watch the videos. It wasn’t until I turned up the volume and heard the constant popping of the gun in a chaotic video that the full impact of this event hit me like a train—deadliest mass shooting in US history, over 500 wounded, over 55 dead. The deadliest mass shooting in United States history. Words like this have the power to bring tears to your eyes, make you physically sick to your stomach, and even paralyze you so you don’t even want to get out of bed. History was made last night, but in a horrible way. This isn’t exactly the kind of event you look forward to telling your future kids you were around for.
Rewinding time a bit, last night before I fell asleep, I said a prayer in my mind. I spoke to my God, whom I grew up believing in, thanked him for a great day, asked him to watch over me throughout the night, and asked him to look over our country and our world. I asked him to help us find the peace that we could not seem to locate. About an hour after I said “Amen,” the shooter open fired on the crowd of people below him. If I think too much on this particular timeline I might break, which I’m already pretty close to doing as I write this. Just the fact that this event even happened in the first place, let alone an hour after I prayed for protection for the people of my country, is enough to make anyone question everything—humanity, society, authority, religion. If the one “person” billions of people believe in and count on cannot protect innocent people from something like this as well as from other horrific events that have happened in the past, who’s to say we are ever truly safe? Who’s to say we’ve ever really been protected by a higher power? Will we ever really be protected?
I feel as if another reason this event has struck me so deeply is that a big group of YouTube celebrities that I watch on a daily basis were literally in Las Vegas last weekend for the Life Is Beautiful Music Festival. I’m not sure if their concerts were located in the same place as the Route 91 Harvest Festival last night, but it very well could have been them trapped in that chaotic mass of people hiding for 9 seconds, then running for 37 seconds for their lives in numerous agonizing increments. I know it may seem strange that the thought of these random internet stars narrowly escaping this tragedy by one week is contributing to my emotions regarding the horrific events last night when there are so many that were actually affected, but after watching these people for over a year through a computer screen, you really feel like you know them. They feel like a distant friend, maybe like someone you met a few times in school, drifted apart from, but still check up on through social media. If they had been attending the festival and I heard about what had happened, I would be extremely worried about their safety. That being said, I can’t even imagine what it was like for the families and friends of those who were actually in attendance last night.
Music is supposed to be something that brings people together in an extremely positive way. As a lover of music and concerts myself, I feel as if concerts and music festivals are a places where everyone is just happy to be alive and enjoying life. You share a common interest with everyone around you and you almost have to trust them for the night. And everyone sharing in that awesome phenomenon that is music is just an amazing thing to experience. It really is horrific that a night like that had to be sabotaged by evil.
Then there is the topic of the shooter. He was found dead in the hotel room he was attacking from when police were finally able to get inside. Apparently he killed himself, which just makes me angry. This guy won’t even be punished for all of the lives he took. Although I imagine he may have been sentenced to death had he made it to a trial, he would have still spent years on death row, waiting to be “put down.” Although I’m still not sure where I stand on the death penalty in general, even after years of internal debate, that punishment sounds like it would have been ideal; ideal for the survivors, the families of the victims, and the rest of the country. He would be forced to spend all those years locked up, inching towards death while having to internally deal with his own actions. This terrorist does not deserve to be called by name, and he does not deserve those “fifteen minutes of fame” he was probably searching for.
It’s extremely important that we as a society focus harshly on the issue of gun control from here on out. Where and how in the world did this shooter get his hands on ten automatic rifles? How did he get them all into the hotel? What are we going to do about this?
For starters, we need to make the process of buying guns extremely more difficult than it currently is. We should also limit the variety of weapons that are accessible to the public. What possible purpose does an automatic rifle that can shoot over 400 yards have when in the hands of a civilian with no connection to law enforcement or the military? My personal belief is that ordinary civilians should not own guns, although I 100% understand and respect the fact that the second amendment gives those that want to own a firearm the right to do so. I understand that many people do not feel safe where they live and want to be able to protect themselves, but I never experienced a living situation like that so that is where my belief stems from. I don’t necessarily want to eradicate that amendment altogether, but personally I don’t think I will ever feel the need to own my own gun. I still feel safe the majority of the time and feel as if I would actually feel less safe if I knew someone owned a gun in my household. My neighbor back home openly owns a gun, and although sometimes I forget about this fact, other times I will remember it and it gives me a little anxiety. Just the presence of something that can so suddenly injure or kill someone is scary to think about being right next door to you. Guns are obviously deadly weapons, and as seen last night, in the wrong hands they can cause mass casualties.
I think it’s safe to say that we’re all scared. I’m scared, our president is scared, the concert goers were/are scared, and the gunman was scared. We’re not quite sure what we’re scared of, but we know it’s something big. And events like last night only remind us of this crippling fear burrowed deep inside us. We don’t know what to do about it, and we don’t know how to fix it. But fear has the ability to shut us down, yet wake us up at the same time. We just need to figure out how to control it.
I feel as if there is nothing we can do that will 100% fix our problems with all of the issues pertaining to the events of October 1st. No matter what ends up happening in response, someone will be unhappy about it. And to be completely honest, I feel as if no action is going to take place in response. No action really has taken place over the last couple of years as the terrorism continues to spread across our country as well as our globe. If we can’t fix what’s going on overseas, and we really can’t without plunging ourselves into some kind of deadly war, then we can at least strive to fix what’s going on in our homeland. Don’t just send your prayers by posting an imagine on Instagram. Don’t just send your “condolences and sympathies” through a public tweet. Do something.
Doing something might be as simple as expressing your opinions through an article and posting it online. Join a movement to end gun violence by texting ACT to 64433. VOTE in any level of elections for candidates who will actually work towards things you believe in, gun control being one of those issues. If you live in Nevada, donate blood to help those that are injured. Even simply spreading happiness is doing something. Text your friends and family a good morning, tell workers to have a great day, smile at strangers, and enjoy your time, because some people’s gets cut short. Do what you can to make life better.
Main news article used for info:Goldman, Gerry Mullany And Russell. “Las Vegas Shooting Near Mandalay Bay Casino Kills More Than 50.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 2 Oct. 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/10/02/us/las-vegas-shooting.html?mcubz=1. Accessed