Las Vegas shooting sparks controversy

On Sunday, October 1st, many country music fans traveled to Route 91 in Las Vegas to listen to their favorite artists perform for the Harvest Festival. What they didn’t know, was that one of the best nights of their lives, would soon turn into a living nightmare.

   10:05 pm was when the first shots were fired from the Mandalay Bay, a nearby hotel. The gunshots were coming from the 32nd floor, the man firing being 64 year old Stephen Paddock. The terrorist fired for approximately nine minutes with one of his 23 machine guns before stopping. At 11:20 pm, officers finally reached his hotel room and found him laying dead on the ground; he had shot himself. A note, a hammer, and the rest of his guns were left behind. The hammer had been used to break open the hotel window, since windows on higher levels cannot open on their own, and the note contained calculations used for shooting accuracy.

His motive is still unknown, but it is important not to dismiss how terrible this act of terrorism is even if he did not have a mental illness or any disorders. 59 lives were taken and more than 500 were injured, making this the worst mass shooting the US has seen in recent years. The mass shooting that occurred a year before this was in Orlando at a gay bar, with 49 killed and 58 injured. With mass shootings happening every year, it is obvious something needs to change.

The 2nd Amendment states that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, should not be infringed,” but we shouldn’t take it lightly. Making it easy to access guns is the reason why mass shootings like this keep occurring, and we need to pay attention to why they are happening and fix the problem, because it will not fix itself. Ironically, the group of people who commit the most mass murders are the people who can get guns the easiest.

According to Grant Duwe, author of Mass Murder in the United States: A History, non-Hispanic white males make up 63 percent of mass shooters in America since 1900. Despite this, white men have easy access to weapons. The media also rarely labels them as terrorist, unlike many people of color who commit these acts. It does not matter who you are, if you commit mass murder you are a terrorist and should be labeled as such, but if we do not call the white men out, no one will see them as one and it will keep happening.

Outlawing gun laws would be a huge first step, but one that should be considered. Many use guns as protection, but it makes you wonder how flawed our system is to even need protection like this in the first place, when America is supposed to be a safe place.

Junior Sarah Saadeh stated, “I think that it [the shooting] is a tragedy, but the shooters should be called what they are, terrorists. In the media the only people who are called terrorists are people of color, and Stephen Paddock should not be held to a different standard.”

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