Yet another tragedy has taken place in our country; hearts are broken, lives are mourned, and serious discussion and investigation is in effect. The deadliest modern-day US mass shooting took place on Sunday, October 1 at 10pm at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas. The 64-year-old mass murderer Stephen Paddock was camped on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, overlooking the country festival (ABC News). There were approximately 22,000 people – children, families, couples and friends – at the country music festival that night, and no one suspected such a horrific turn of events.
As mentioned in the CNN article “Las Vegas Police Again Change Timeline of Mass Shooting,” there were 58 people killed and over 500 people injured. The gunshots began at 10:05pm and continued for about 9 to 11 minutes. In The New York Times video “Mass Shooting in Las Vegas” a concertgoer, along with most other people there, describes hearing what he thought were fireworks in the middle of the final act. Then, after the first round of shots were fired, the performer Jason Aldean stopped singing and the lights on the stage went black. The crowd, completely confused and petrified, began to panic and either dropped to the ground or ran for their lives. “Las Vegas police officers took cover and directed concertgoers to safety” states the NY Times article “Gunman’s Girlfriend Said She Didn’t Know He Planned Harm.” Soon after the last gunfires, officers entered the hotel and waited until the SWAT team arrived to storm into the hotel room. When the SWAT team entered Paddock’s room, they “…discover[ed] him dead on the floor, apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot wound” (CNN). Paddock kept “23 weapons in his hotel room, including multiple rifles, some of which had scopes. He also attaches 12 ‘bump fire stocks’– devices that enable shooters to fire bullets at a faster rate” (CNN).
There is speculation that Paddock was planning this attack for months; Paddock requested a room surveilling the Lollapalooza Music Festival in August, but it is said that he never checked in (CNN). Investigators are still unclear of Paddock’s motive. The Washington Post describes that “an autopsy had been conducted on Paddock and ‘no abnormalities [were] observed visually… The FBI said investigators had found ‘no signs of ideology or affiliations to any groups.” It’s unfortunate that it takes such a tragic event to start the discussion about gun control. Some argue that this is not the time to discuss gun control because of how soon the shooting happened. Yet, others believe that this is absolutely the proper time to bring up that issue because of how relevant it is, and to prevent other tragedies from occurring. One would think that after the Pulse Nightclub shooting or the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, or even the Colorado movie theater shooting that some sort of change would have taken place; change must happen, it’s just a matter of when people will start realizing that until it does, there will only be more disgusting acts of terror.
By: Sofie Raimo ’18, Entertainment Editor