By Tommy Gagliano
On October 2nd, 59 people were killed and more than 500 were injured in the deadliest mass shooting in modern United States history. The attack took place at a concert in Las Vegas and the gunman, identified as Stephen Paddock, shot at people from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Paddock was found dead in his room, along with more than 20 firearms, including modified assault rifles. The attack does not appear to be politically or religiously motivated, and therefore has not been declared an act of terrorism. The responses to the attack were exactly as expected – people on the right (such as the InfoWars staff like Alex Jones and Paul Joseph Watson) tried to find a way to tie Paddock to Islam (ISIS did claim responsibility, but the FBI says their claim is false), while people on the left (such as almost every celebrity and Democratic politician) blamed the attack on guns. Both sides are stupid. Paddock was a United States citizen, so obviously no amount of border security or immigration/refugee policy was going to stop him – but stricter gun control, or even an all-out ban on guns, wouldn’t have stopped him either.
It was originally reported that many of the rifles that Paddock possessed were legally purchased, but illegally modified into fully automatic weapons. Newer reports, however, have claimed that the guns didn’t technically qualify as “fully automatic machine guns”, and the modifications were legal. Either way, the legality of the guns wouldn’t have made a difference in light of his tenacity. Although his motivation still remains a mystery for the time being, Paddock was clearly very dedicated to carrying out this attack. Not only did he have 23 weapons with him in the hotel room, another 19 were found back at his house in Mesquite, Nevada. It wasn’t a spur of the moment act of violence and it wasn’t accidental. It was a very well-thought-out, premeditated attack. He was going to get his hands on the guns, whether it was legal for him to do so or not. He shot over 500 people, obviously breaking the law wasn’t a big deal to him.
Ultimately, banning guns doesn’t mean anything to people that are already willing to break the law. There will always be a way for people to obtain weapons illegally, the same way drugs are still fairly easy to obtain through the black market or other illegal means. Outlawing guns only prevents sane, law-abiding citizens with good morals from possessing them, and those aren’t the kinds of people that are executing horrific attacks such as the one in Las Vegas.
I’m not here to argue about the Second Amendment, or self-defense, or whether more guns means more violent crimes or less. I’m not going to get into the statistics comparing crime in areas with a lot of legally owned guns against areas with very few legally owned guns. All of that is irrelevant when it comes to shootings like the one in Las Vegas. My usual go-to line for gun control debates is “the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”, but I’m not going to pretend like that applies here. Paddock was 32 floors up, shooting from his hotel room. The odds of anyone finding where he was shooting from, grabbing their own gun, shooting back, and actually hitting him before he killed 59 people are microscopic. The typical gun control talking points don’t apply to situations like this.
There is nothing that could have prevented the massacre in Las Vegas. Not gun control, not an all-out ban of guns, not more security or police officers, not an increase in armed citizens in the area, nothing. He could have obtained the firearms even if they were illegal. Security or police would not have been able to get to him in time, and they actually didn’t. Even if the members of the audience were all armed, the chances of them finding him in his hotel room and shooting him would be incredibly low. Everyone wants to act like they have the solution, but they don’t, because there is no solution. Paddock planned it all out, had his mind made up, and nothing was going to stop him. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this terrible tragedy.
Image from here