Jacob Cotter-Asst. News Editor
Shortly after 10:00 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 1, the United States watched in horror as one of the deadliest attacks in its history unfolded in Las Vegas, NV. This is the most violent shooting on record, with 59 deaths, and around 500 injured. The shooting was directed at the crowd of an open-air concert, which was a part of the Route 91 Harvest Festival.
According to CNN, the concert was interrupted around 10:08 p.m. by the sound of gunfire, and people immediately rushed to get to safety. The gunman fired from a window on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel at the crowd, which was several hundred feet away.
The shooting began during a performance by Jason Aldean and, according to police, lasted roughly 9 to 11 minutes. The shooter has been identified by authorities as Stephen Paddock, a retired Nevada resident from the town of Mesquite. Paddock was a former accountant and had been twice divorced. He had no children.
When police arrived at suite 32135, they fell under fire from Paddock, who was inside. The officers decided to wait until SWAT arrived to confront Paddock. Once the hotel room was breached, officers found Paddock dead of an apparent suicide. He is believed to have been working alone.
23 weapons were found in Paddock’s room, some of which had scopes. In addition, ammonium nitrate was found in Paddock’s car. While searching his home, authorities found 19 more firearms, several hundred rounds, explosives and “electronic devices,” as described by police.
Investigators believe the weapons to have been purchased legally; a factor which has again stirred up national debate over gun control legislation. Paddock modified his weapons using a “bump stock,” an attachment which can speed up the fire rate of semi-automatic weapon to the point of a standard machine gun. Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline has proposed a bill in response to the massacre, titled the “Automatic Gunfire Prevention Act”.
The Act prevents the sale, import, distribution, manufacture and ownership of any attachments or otherwise modified weapons. As of Friday Oct. 5, 160 members of the House of Representatives have voiced support for the bill. The Bill is even supported by the National Rifle Association, which is generally against firearm legislature.
All of this comes shortly after President Trump’s decision to repeal the legislature put forth by President Obama that prevents citizens ruled as “mentally defective” under the Social Security Act from purchasing firearms. Regardless of political position, this tragedy will doubtless renew debate over the correct response to gun violence.
Our nation has once again faced a harrowing act of violence and it, as is American tradition, will hopefully serve as opportunity to unite our thinking and actions toward the common goal of self-betterment. Anyone able and willing is encouraged to donate blood in support of those still suffering in Las Vegas. Everyone’s hearts and minds will surely be with them in this difficult time.