58. 58?! 49 seemed unconscionable. 27, including 20 children, unreal. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse. Just when the thought of adding another “Pray for (insert city)” Facebook cover or profile photo left our consciousness, another man (it almost always is) with a ridiculous amount of fire power (mostly rifles), another mass shooting, and even more blood shed.
— City of Las Vegas (@CityOfLasVegas) October 4, 2017
— Salvation Army of DE (@SalArmyDE) October 4, 2017
It was the last day of a country music festival across the street from the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. More than 22,000 people outside to enjoy country jams and have a good time.
But in a matter of nine, possibly up to 11, agonizing minutes (that’s how long Las Vegas Police said the gunfire went on for), thousands of people were caught in a storm of bullets raining down on them.
A man on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino turned his hotel room into a sniper’s nest, gunning down innocent people on a killing field below.
When it was finally over, 58 people lost their lives and 489 others were injured.
34-year-old Carrie Barnette worked as a cook for a restaurant at Disney’s California Adventure. She had recently bought a home in Riverside, joined by her beloved basset hound, Lucy, the New York Times reported.
Cameron Robinson took time off from his job with the city of Las Vegas to go to the country music festival with his boyfriend. Mr. Robinson was shot in the neck, and died in his boyfriend’s arms, the New York Times reported.
Jack Beaton was celebrating his 23rd wedding anniversary, his father-in-law Jerry Cook, told BakersfieldNow.com. Mr. Beaton left this world shielding his wife from the gunfire, his son posted on Twitter.
Adrian Murfitt had been working 16-hour days as a salmon fisherman in his home state of Alaska, the New York Times reported. Needing a break, he gathered his two childhood friends, sister Shannon, and headed for Las Vegas. His sister said Mr. Murfitt was shot in the neck. Mr. Murfitt’s friend Brian MacKinnon told the New York Times that Mr. Murfitt died in his arms as medics tried to save his life.
These are only some of the 58 names and 58 inspiring stories that were taken away by gun violence.
— Jessica Castro (@JessicaABC7) October 4, 2017
A girl places candles at a memorial for victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada. pic.twitter.com/8GaWSELjiI
— Fox News (@FoxNews) October 4, 2017
From the sound of music, to the sound of gunfire, another senseless tragedy is yet again affecting more victims, as well as their friends and families. For those who did survive the carnage, the 9 to 11-minute nightmare will last a lifetime.
This is starting to sound like a broken record as mass shootings continue to spin out of control, and their orchestration, even more chilling and disturbing.
Authorities eventually figured out where the shooter was, but when they got there he was dead. The shooter apparently killed himself. After a cowardly act, he chose a cowardly way to go.
We want the why and the how, even if they are questions we don’t want to know the answers to.
How did someone manage to bring at least 23 weapons, most of them rifles, into Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino without anybody noticing? That person who I refuse to name because I refuse to glorify murderers, even set cameras up inside and outside the hotel room to watch for police as he carried out his rampage.
A church, a school, a nightclub, now an outdoor music festival. Each is a new place we think is safe, only for someone to one day pump bullets into innocent people. For what? The Islamic State? Out of anger or jealousy? Racism? Mental illness?
I’m already hearing the conversations about gun control, mental health awareness and tightened security start up again. Let Democrats blame the NRA and have gun activists argue once again about 2nd amendment rights, and how it’s not guns, but people, who kill people.
Let’s ask questions about how and why these military-style assault rifles seem to be so readily accessible to people who shouldn’t have them, and the need for more extensive background checks. We could even discuss the gunman’s use of a so-called bump stock device that is legal, and allows a semiautomatic weapon to fire like a fully automatic one.
Go ahead. The same old story. Over and over again.
So I propose this for lawmakers: try it all. Tinker the second amendment, restrict guns, add metal detectors and bag searches at hotels. Set aside your differences, disassociate with any powerful lobbyists like the NRA, and let each side talk out their be-all solutions and try and stop the bleeding.
Whatever it is, there’s no silver bullet. We’re just shooting blanks because nothing seems to be working.
For the rest of us, I implore you to showcase the greatness of human beings. Hug someone you love, hold the door open for a stranger, ask someone you don’t know how their day is on the train, in the elevator, or waiting in line to grab a coffee. Listen to what someone with a different idea has to say.
In the face of evil, remember that our differences are always set aside to help one another. That’s what concertgoers in Las Vegas did Sunday night.
Enough with the thoughts and prayers. A hashtag and cityscape cover photo doesn’t cut it anymore.
I want answers.