America has experienced yet another tragic attack in which 59 (and still counting) people were killed and over 500 more wounded outside a Las Vegas hotel. The murderer took his own life and apparently is not an agent of a foreign terrorist organization.
In the aftermath of the slaughter, innocent survivors were interviewed and spoke of the horror they felt as the shooter fired automatic weapons from a high floor at the Mandalay Bay Hotel. A large crowd was enjoying a concert when bullets down rained on them. The shooter apparently did not have a specific target in mind. He just wanted to kill people to sate some deep seated hatred. We probably will never know what his motivations were.
First responders headed towards the hotel when the shots began. Their courage, as victims were being hit by wave after wave of bullets, was inspiring. Many more lives would have been lost if concerned fellow attendees did not help others find cover.
Being in a firefight in a far off country is a frightening thought. But being subjected to a crazed and mentally unbalanced assassin on our homeland must have been terribly traumatic for the concert attendees. Our hearts go out to those hurt and their families.
One wonders what runs through the minds of people in such a dire predicament. What were the attendees thinking as the maniac shot at them with one of his ten or fifteen rifles? Surely they were worried about being killed or wounded. They must have also been thinking about their loved ones.
As a spectator of this despicable event from afar, I feel great helplessness. Mass murderers seem to be popping up more and more often around the world. We always ask whether the shooters are religious fanatics. Many of these animals are dedicated to killing Americans just because they pay homage to God in a different way than the people they prey upon.
Protecting ourselves from foreign born killers is a specialized type of problem. President Trump has proposed certain actions to prevent the immigration and visitation by potential enemies from the most unstable countries in the Middle East and Africa. His proposals are very unpopular to many liberals who think he is a xenophobe and a bigot. Many others think Trump’s suggestions could have a meaningful impact on imported violence.
The Las Vegas terrorist is home grown (this assessment could change as investigators try to determine why the man was motivated to kill innocent people). The question is, how can we protect our country from domestic terrorism? It is a complex and perplexing problem. Shooters are often unbalanced and unhappy individuals, but many blend into the general population and have no history of violence. Often times they are people who have experienced hard times, be they financial, familial, romantic or otherwise. Preventing a person from killing others after they lose a job or a spouse is much more difficult then stopping a violent man in Syria from coming to the US and killing our neighbors.
The conversations about gun control will be front and center. Our Constitution gives us the right to bear arms for sport, hunting and protection. Our forefathers would definitely agree that any individual who is deranged or a felon should not own a gun. Unfortunately the pro-gun lobby is concerned that any new laws which limit gun ownership would threaten the rights of legitimate gun owners. This is totally untrue and an unfortunate perspective.
The gun lobby has nothing to be concerned about. The right to own guns is embedded in our laws and in our Constitution. The lobby should be more amenable to gun restrictions including those that greatly restrict fully automatic weapons and large magazines that hold many bullets. But by continuing to resist any compromise the lobby will increase the risk of more gun control, especially on the heels of tragedies like Las Vegas and Connecticut.
Guns are not responsible for deaths, people are. Gangs, unbalanced people, felons and other troublemakers should be prohibited from owning weapons. Those for and against “gun control” need to come together to stop similar incidents in the future without impacting the right of Americans to bear arms.