Whenever a person thinks of gun violence, he/she might think of large-scale mass shootings, but out of the approximate 33,000-gun violence deaths that take place each year, only about 500 (i.e. around 1.5%) are as a result of mass shootings. Also, it should be noted that two-thirds of gun violence deaths are from suicide.
As the country music singer Jason Aldean was giving the closing performance for about 22,000 people on the third and final day of the Route 91 Harvest country music festival, Stephen Craig Paddock had occupied his hotel suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and was developing towards the execution of something totally unanticipated that would leave a blot in the history of the United States of America. The hotel suite he occupied was diagonally adjacent to his targets in the festival lot. Shortly before 10 p.m. PDT, Paddock had an encounter with the hotel security guard who was on the same floor of the hotel in response to an open-door alert of a hotel guest’s room. He was drilling a hole beside the door, but as he realized that the guard is approaching him, he began firing more than 200 rounds through the door. The guard, as soon as he got injured, informed the hotel security personnel about the incident.
Soon enough, Paddock broke the windows of his suite with the help of a hammer and began open-shooting through the broken windows at about 10:05 pm, eventually firing hundreds of rifle rounds approximately 400 yards into the festival audience. The people being in the festive mood, misunderstood the gun firing for fireworks at first. The gunfire extended, with some brief pauses, for a period of approximately 10 minutes, and ended by around 10:15 p.m.
At the time of the shooting, the police officers were at first confused about the source of the gun firing and were not able to locate it. The firing continued for a long ten minutes before the last round was fired. Soon an eight-man team of the clerk county police-force approached the door of the room occupied by Stephen and found him lying in a pool of blood, dead.
The incident resulted in the death of a massive 58 people (excluding paddock) including 4 foreign nationals and injuring approximately 489 people and is termed as the worst gun-shooting incident in the history of the USA after the Orlando club shooting. The incident has been termed as the “October 1” tragedy.
The aftermath of the shooting included and huge hue & cry among the public over the topic of gun laws. Moreover, the prices of gun stocks went up post-incident due to the fact the people were instilled with fear and prioritized their protection. Social media was flooded with sympathy messages for the victims and their families including the star – John Alden who was performing when the firing began. Gun manufacturers came out in defense of the idiosyncratic method used by Paddock that allowed a semi-automatic weapon to be used as automatic one. Various non-state actors claimed that Paddock worked for them but the intelligence agency has still not been able to confirm the same.
Some interesting aspects to consider are as follows:
- The hotel management did not inform the police authorities even though a member of their staff was shot within the hotel premises leaving open the possibility that this might not be a single-man task after all.
- Paddock siphoned a whopping $100,000 into a foreign Philippine account of his girlfriend which did not come under the radar of the suspicious activities. Moreover, Paddock’s girlfriend denies all allegations on her in context to the massacre that took place.
- A great stock of guns i.e. 22 rifles and 8 pistols were found from the hotel room of Paddock which though have been confirmed by the government authorities that have been purchased via a legal method but still raise the question as to where the money came from.
- Another, serious issues that came to light is the one in relation to the response-time of the police authorities. Many calculations by various sources which can be relied upon show that the minutes taken by the police authorities could have been reduced leading to mitigating effects but unfortunately that was not the case and someone has to be held responsible for the same.
In the aftermath of the incident, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant asserted that Paddock was their ‘soldier’ and was inspired by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s call to attack confederation countries. But the Federal Bureau of Investigation reassured that the incident has no connection with any international terrorist group. Also, as has earlier happened after any such sort of incident, the stock prices of firearms manufacturers hiked up the day after the shooting. It is expected by the investors that the sale of guns would increase further as the concern over the rehappening of such an event could possibly lead to more inflexible gun-control legislation and there shall be a rush of customers wishing to protect themselves against any such future attacks.
It is easy to feel powerless in the aftermath of yet another dreadful example of gun violence in America. There have been 1,516 mass shootings in the U.S.
The steps that the people took to at least get the elected officials thinking more seriously and responsibly about gun reforms is that with a nod of validation from the National Rifle Association of America, the Republicans plan to ban ‘bump fire stocks’, as were used in the Vegas shooting.
Many scholars have proposed their respective solutions for the violence epidemic caused due to guns in the United States, for example, La Valle proposed that the prospective gun buyers should be required to provide a full list of all who will have secondary access to the guns, and each individual listed should be subject to the same background checks as the original purchaser. To better assure the effectiveness of all of the presently proposed gun-policy revisions the gun show loophole should be closed indefinitely.