Just after 10 p.m. on the Las Vegas Strip, shots rang out at the Route 91 Country music festival. The festival ran for three days, with Country star Jason Aldean closing out the festival. Aldean and festival goers assumed they were hearing fireworks or stereo feedback when the shooting began Sunday evening.
64-year-old Stephen Paddock fired thousands of rounds from automatic weapons on the 29 floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort. His room overlooked the festival and as Paddock checked in on Thursday, he presumably scouted the targets all weekend. When a SWAT team entered Paddock’s room and killed him, they found an arsenal of 17 fully-automatic weapons. Paddock had purchased some of the weapons while in Vegas. Paddock is a resident of Mesquite, Nev., but formerly lived in Mesquite, Texas and had a home in Reno, Nev. His homes in Mesquite and Reno were raided. Interestingly, Paddock’s father was once on the FBI’s 10 most wanted list.
The Islamic State referred to Paddock as a warrior of theirs, though, these claims were unsubstantiated and proven to be false. This is not the first time ISIS has claimed responsibility for killings they were not involved in. However, this is not to say Paddock was not a terrorist. President Trump referred to the act as “pure evil.”
What the President, the media, and right-wingers will not say is that Paddock was a terrorist. The common media narrative with white terrorists is to question their mental health. This is an insult to those with mental illness who are non-violent, and it’s never a question for non-white shooters. Let’s be clear, this was the largest mass-shooting in American history, resetting the record from the Pulse night club massacre, which President Trump politicized. At least 59 people were killed, with 527 others injured. The color of one’s skin or religion or lack thereof does not dictate whether someone is a terrorist. This is an act of domestic terrorism. Just as Sandy Hook was, Pulse, Oklahoma City, Charleston, and Aurora.
The sickening truth after the shooting is that many gun company’s stock prices rose. After mass-shootings, more American’s arm themselves. This happened after Sandy Hook. The NRA receives positive light and support too. They mocked the memory of those children killed in Sandy Hook and will presumably do the same here. A bill legalizing gun silencers was already set to go through Congress. Now, that bill ought to be under more scrutiny. Without the sound of gunshots, hundreds more could have been killed.
Paddock was a terrorist. He killed more people through mass-shooting than anyone else. If Omar Mateen is a terrorist, so is Paddock. The common response by the Christian-right with the reoccurring hurricanes and shootings is “pray for [fill in the blank]”. Well, it is not making a difference. Legislation will, and it’s time to restrict semi and fully-automatic weapons.
Civilians do not need military weapons for hunting. The second amendment was about building a militia if the government became oppressive, not saying we should be able to have an arsenal. Back in the days of the founding fathers it took several minutes to load a round, now we can shoot thousands in a minute. Bottom line, companies and organizations which profit on the death of Americans should not be supported.