What happened on Oct. 1, 2017, in Las Vegas is the definition of a national tragedy. With 58 people shot to death and approximately 500 sent to the hospital injured, what Stephen Paddock did was inhumane and beyond comprehensible. His actions are still unexplainable as these words are being written. Even the Clark County sheriff is asking if Paddock joined a radical extremist group. Paddock’s brother, Eric, looked authentically confused in front of reporters, talking about how kind an uncle Stephen was to his kids. Paddock’s girlfriend, Marilou Danley, described him as a “kind, caring, quiet man.” The shooter was invisible on social media. He was a millionaire and professional gambler with multiple homes. Nothing adds up as to why he would be the man to commit the most violent mass shooting in modern American history. So while the words “common-sense gun control” are being thrown around, the reality is that no law would have stopped this massacre. In this country, the sad truth is that gun control cannot be controlled.
It turns out that, according to The New York Times, “at least three AR-15-style rifles were visible on the floor and on the furniture, along with at least a dozen high-capacity magazines, which can hold up to 100 rounds [. . . ] [Plus] more than 20 guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition were also found in the suite.” While this might seem excessive, and I agree it obviously was, the bad behavior of a few cannot infringe upon the rights of the majority.
The Second Amendment was added by our founding fathers because they knew that if a people were to be free from an evil government, they had to have a form of protection. In their words, “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.” I don’t want to hear about this idea that the guns they were referring to were only about hunting and an earlier way of life. The entire idea behind the Second Amendment was to protect freedom.
With that said, freedom can have some unfortunate and even horrible results. Freedom in car travel and alcohol purchases creates drunk drivers. Our laws cannot control those outcomes, only the punishments if committed. The same goes with gun usage. We can create legislation, but when many of these people put the guns on themselves after, then there really is no way to narrow down the amount of gun violence through retaliation. While making more laws sounds good and feels good and can get people elected, the end result is that people who want to commit evil and take their own life will find a way. Paddock was perfectly OK to go to a gun shop and purchase his weapons. There was nothing anyone could have done on the legal side.
Now, could Mandalay Bay clerks have been more aware of the multiple suitcases Paddock carried up? Could his girlfriend have been more aware of his purchases? Could have Paddock’s neighbors have been more involved and possibly found out his plans? Yes. But that is not their job.
That’s the problem with a free society built on individualism. Americans stay out of each other’s business, saving our nosiness for celebrities and politicians. We don’t like to get too close. Why? Because the melting pot hasn’t worked like that for a long time. Unlike other nations, we are multicultural in greater extremes. We pray to different gods. We speak multiple languages. We are no longer a puritanical nation with the same ethos, logos and pathos. And a nation scrunched together, but separate in so many ways will always face these issues.
Hopefully, though, we might be different and therefore not come together before the chaos, we do tend to come together after. In a post-9/11 world we do rise up. We do help each other. We find a way to link. The irony is that it takes these events to bring us together.
We will never control the violence, but do seem to find a way to control the care after. I wish I had better news, but in a free country, that’s the best I can say.