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Horror in Vegas: The Las Vegas Massacre

Camryn Whitman

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As 22,000 locals and tourists flocked to the Las Vegas strip for a country music festival, last Sunday, unbeknownst to them that night would go down in history.  October 1st, 2017 will be remembered as the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history.

A gunman, later identified as 64 year old Nevada resident Stephen Paddock, was positioned on the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas casino and opened a torrent of gunfire upon the unsuspecting festival-goers. As thousands of attendees frantically ran for their lives, hundreds of people lay wounded on the ground. The casualties numbered 527 people injured from gunshots or being stampeded,  and 59 dead.

This tragic count resulted in this shooting being named the deadliest mass shooting in modern american history, exceeding even the numbers of the Pulse nightclub shooting of 2016.  Vigils all around the country have been held in honor of those injured and murdered by an assailant with no declared motive.

As investigators look into the shooting, the evidence has left them increasingly baffled. “I can’t get into the mind of a psychopath,” Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said.

Police reports say shooter Stephen Paddock stayed in a suite in the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino for several days with an arsenal of 23 guns including a handgun and multiple rifles. An additional 19 guns and explosives were found in his Mesquite, Nevada residence. How Paddock managed to get that many weapons into the suite undetected is one of the many unanswered questions authorities still have. What authorities do know, however, is it is very unlikely Paddock, who killed himself in his hotel room, was involved in any large terrorist organization, despite claims from the Islamic State. With that said, police are still trying to understand what caused a retired accountant with a slight gambling problem to murder dozens of innocent people.

The community has banded together to help the victims of this tragedy. The evil of an individual has been counteracted with the altruism of a nation. Heroes can be seen carrying injured people through the masses, putting their own life at risk. Blood banks in the Las Vegas area have been flooded, with donors lining around the block to do their part in helping their community.  People around the nation have been affected by this calamity, “I was shocked something like this happened in my hometown,” freshman and Las Vegas native Evan Chen said. “When I heard, I was worried for my friends from there and wondering if they were okay.”

As in any shooting, the events of Sunday have sparked debate between political parties over gun control laws. Democrats now more than ever, are pushing for harsher gun laws, with Republicans opposing them. Politicians have been quick to respond to the shooting.

President Trump described it as an “act of pure evil,” and stayed away from the political debate immediately after the tragedy. Others, however, had difficulty staying away from the political side. CBS vice president Hayley Geftman-Gold said she is “no even sympathetic,” to the victims of the shooting because, “country music fans are often republican.” She was later fired from CBS in light of her comments.

No matter the political views, most can agree mass shootings are a persistent problem in our nation. Today’s high school students alone have lived through four out of five of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. History; Las Vegas, Orlando, Virginia Tech, and Sandy Hook.

 

 

 

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Horror in Vegas: The Las Vegas Massacre