On the night of October 1st, a music festival on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada is hosting approximately 22000 people. The space is full of loud music, laughter, and sounds of joy. Country music star Jason Aldean is performing on the stage when suddenly the sound of continuous shots begins to be heard by everyone. Aldean and his group ran off the stage in front of the eyes of thousands of confused people who do not take the sound seriously. As the gunshots continue, the sounds of happiness are replaced by people’s cries and shouts. Some are lying on the ground covering their heads, while others are looking to the upper floors of Mandalay Bay Hotel where the flashes of gunshots have been spotted. There is nothing but screaming and people crying “Oh my God” and “Get down”. The area becomes deserted when frightened and panicked people run to find shelter.
After nine minutes the shooting finally stops, and there is “blood on the ground in the car park – trails of blood about 20ft from the entrance. That’s where they were dropping off the people,” says Robert Smith, a cardiovascular technician at the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada.
Stephen Craig Paddock, a 64 year old man, heavy gambler and drinker and the son of Benjamin Hoskins Paddock, one of the most wanted criminals between 1969 and 1977, has been identified as the murderer. According to New York Times, he has only been identified by the Las Vegas police for a non-serious traffic violation and he has never been known to the Mesquite police at all, according to Quinn Averett, a spokesman for the Mesquite police. These are some parts of Paddock’s brother’s in an interview with CBS said “We had no idea. We’re horrified. We’re bewildered and our condolences go out to the victims,” his voice trembling. “We had no idea in the world.” Paddock also said his now-deceased brother was “not an avid gun guy at all”. Eric said Paddock was fond of gambling and country music but had no real “religious affiliation, no political affiliation.”
“The fact that he had those kinds of weapons is just … where the hell did he get automatic weapons? He has no military background or anything like that,” he added. “He was just a guy…he snapped or something.”
According to ABC News, Paddock had checked into the hotel about 5 days before the shooting, as Sheriff Joseph Lombardo, the Las Vegas metropolitan police said. He was carrying ten suitcases filled 23 high powered weapons. He has been residing in a room in the 32nd floor, a room surrounded by wide windows which could simplify his view of the outdoors. He had ordered room service several times during this period. “Multiple hotel employees have been in that room before the shooting, but nobody noticed anything suspicious”, says Matt Gutman. In addition, police have discovered that he has been equipped with two cameras showing him the situation, so he continued shooting until the moment of police entering his room. The photos released by the police show some of his weapons including an AR-15.
Sheriff Lombardo said in press conferences the following day, “You look at the weapons, the obtaining, do you think this was all accomplished on his own? We know that he had a girlfriend; do you think this was all self-facing? You got to make the assumption that he has had some help in some points.”
Marilou Danley, Paddock’s girlfriend who has been living with him for about three years in a house where dozens of high powered weapons were discovered by the police, claims that she has nothing to do with this shooting, nor she knew that he has ever had these kinds of ideas.
In a speech read by her lawyer, she said: “He never said anything to me or took any action that I was aware of or that I understood in any way to be a warning that something horrible like this was going to happen.” She adds, “I knew Stephen as a kind, caring, quiet man. I loved him and hoped for a quiet future together with him.”
The Las Vegas mass shooting has been named the most lethal shooting in the modern United States history with 58 people dead and 546 injured. After the Congress let the ban of producing and sailing the rifle weapons to be expired on 2004, this is the third most deadly mass shooting in the history of the United States.
Barack Obama, the former president of the United States during the time of his presidency tried to ban assault weapons’ selling to non-military members because he believes that “weapons that were designed for soldiers in war theatres don’t belong on [United State] streets.” He designed and introduced a plan to reduce gun violence which focused mostly on strengthening people’s background check before selling weapons as well as mental health treatment.
Unfortunately, many US politicians know these kinds of efforts in contrast with the Second Amendment of the US Constitution, saying “a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
It seems that the shocking statistic is not as adequate as changing the conservative politicians’ minds yet and we should expect more horrifying news like this every day.