Las Vegas Massacre: Don't Be Sad, Be Angry

 

On June 12, 2016, 49 people were killed at the Pulse night club in Orlando. It set the record as the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman in the United States. Here we are a little over a year later, with another unprecedented number - 58 dead, nearly 500 wounded by shooter Stephen Paddock in Las Vegas. Undeniably, the numbers have continued to rise. We’ve seen innocent night clubbers, concertgoers, 6 year olds, teachers, and churchgoers killed year after year by a mass shooter. Do the statistics not stun you? Are we going to have to wait until every person in this nation is somehow personally affected by one of these shootings until we make a change? Let me lay out a few more facts and statistics in hopes of shocking you even more.

    Did you know that a total of 23 weapons, including semiautomatic guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition were found in Paddock’s hotel room? Did you know that it’s technically legal to own a machine gun in the United States, as long as the gun was made before May of 1986 and registered by the federal government? Did you know that you can just freely carry around a firearm in Nevada? Certainly makes you question the reasoning behind some of our gun control laws, especially in light of our nation’s recurring history with mass firearm violence.

    The second amendment, which includes the right of American citizens to bear arms, was created 226 years ago. Back then, the most modern weapon was a musket, one of the primary weapons used in the Revolutionary War. Unlike any type of gun seen or used today, the musket fired a singular shot, and then needed to be reloaded again before the gunman could fire off another. This process took about 15 seconds. If we can advance our weaponry to fit in with modern times, why don’t our laws face the same adaptations? If our weapons are not 226 years old, our laws shouldn’t be either.

    If you’re not annoyed yet, don’t worry, there’s more. Stephen Paddock has been labeled by the media as a “lone wolf”, “local gunman” who “enjoyed music” and “lived a quiet life”. Something seems to be missing to me, and it’s the word “terrorist”. Surprisingly enough, you don’t have to be foreign, a person of color, or affiliated to a specific religion to be a terrorist. A terrorist is any person who violently and unlawfully attacks or kills civilians for a greater cause. I’d say Paddock passes that description with flying colors.

    We keep repeating the same patterns after every mass shooting. We tweet out condolences and prayers and well wishes, we feel saddened by the news for about a week or so, we have discussions about gun control but forget all about it once everything blows over. Aren’t people tired of this routine? Haven’t we figured out by now it isn’t doing much? We should get angry. We should demand change. I don’t think it’s too soon after Las Vegas to start pressing this issue of gun violence. It doesn’t mean we’re not sensitive or empathetic. Wouldn’t you rather it too soon than too late?