One of the worst things about the mass shooting in Las Vegas was that it happened to a crowd of people who were having a good time. Going to a concert isn’t an activity that should end in tragedy, but unfortunately at least 59 lives were needlessly lost at the Route 91 festival.
What makes this attack all the more disturbing is the fact that its perpetrator, Stephen Paddock, had no obvious motive, unlike Salman Ramadan Abedi who carried out an attack at a concert in March of this year in Manchester, England in the name of Islamic extremism.
Whilst it’s now emerged that Paddock’s father was a notorious bank robber, this doesn’t shed any light on why he decided to plan such a cold and calculated attack on a group of innocent people. And horrifyingly, it’s now being suggested that he was planning an even deadlier attack.
Today further weapons were found in Paddock’s possession including seven pounds of ammonium nitrate, a substance which can be used to make explosives. It’s therefore completely possible that he had considered bombing the 22,000-strong crowd he decided to attack.
On a more positive note, tales of heroism have begun to emerge from this tragedy. Countless people risked their lives to save complete strangers from the lone gunman’s fire, and Las Vegas civilians have been queuing up for hour to donate blood to the wounded.
But there was one ‘hero’ whose reaction has been incredibly divisive…
Americans are a fiercely proud people, and their no bullsh*t attitude towards acts of terrorism – regardless of whether they’ve been inspired by religion or sheer insanity – has been perfectly embodied by one man’s reaction to the attack.
He had been enjoying the music of country star Jason Aldean when Paddock opened fire on the crowd from the 32nd story of the Mandalay Bay hotel. Whilst those around him logically ducked for cover, he decided to do something else…
This unnamed man continued to drink his beer before defiantly giving the gunman the middle finger. Admittedly, he ducks when he hears bullets being fired, but his drunken display of defiance has been interpreted by many as a symbol of what makes America great.
Whilst the man in question has been criticised by the majority for potentially drawing attention to himself and those around him, some have praised his defiant display for reflecting Americans’ no bullsh*t attitude towards terrorism.
President Trump gave a speech expressing his opinion about this senseless tragedy on Monday, describing it as an act of “pure evil”.
“My fellow Americans, we are joined together today in sadness, shock, and grief. Last night, a gunman opened fire on a large crowd, at a country music concert in Las Vegas, Nevada. He brutally murdered more than 50 people and wounded hundreds more. It was an act of pure evil.
“The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are working closely with local authorities to assist with the investigation and they will provide updates as to the investigation and how it develops. I want to thank the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and all of the first responders for all of their courageous efforts and for helping to save the lives of so many.
“The speed with which they acted is miraculous, and prevented further loss of life. To have found the shooter so quickly after the first shots were fired is something for which we will always be thankful and grateful. It shows what true professionalism is all about.
“Hundreds of our fellow citizens are now mourning the sudden loss of a loved one. A parent, a child, a brother or sister. We cannot fathom their pain, we cannot imagine their loss. To the families of the victims, we are praying for you, and we are here for you, and we ask God to help see you through this very dark period.”
In the wake of what is the deadliest mass shooting in US history, many people have retracted their stance on the legality of guns including Caleb Keeter, guitarist in the Josh Abbott Band, who took to Twitter to express how this tragedy has affected him.
“I’ve been a proponent of the 2nd Amendment my entire life.
“Until the events of last night. I cannot express how wrong I was. We actually have members of our crew with CHL licenses, and legal firearms on the bus. They were useless.”
As further details about this atrocity continue to emerge, we wish our sincere condolences to all affected.