Las Vegas is arguably America’s playground. On Sunday evening it became yet another killing ground. Rapid gunfire split the sound of joy and revelry during an outdoor concert attended by as many as 22,000, again posing the question of how Americans should to respond to a type of carnage that has become too common.
Here’s an idea: Wait for all the facts to come in before applying motives to people or groups of people.
There are conflicting reports about the shooter. He had “run ins” with local police but no criminal record in Las Vegas. Or he had virtually no criminal record. claimed responsibility for the shooting, but authorities say he had no connections and say his “belief system” is unknown. Moreover, has a record of claiming responsibility quickly even if there is no link — the better to burnish its reputation for savagery.
So, what can our reaction be to this latest tragedy?
Deep and profound sadness, certainly. As the president said Monday, unity. A resolve that the hateful among us will not inform our own beliefs. Much is unknown about Paddock as of this writing, but hatefulness is certainly a belief system we can safely assume for anyone who fires on and kills innocents. And this reaction: a dedication to the notion that, whatever Paddock’s background and ideology, we can calmly and reasonably discuss any policy implications that arise from this latest tragedy.
We must have that discussion.
Yes, more people die every year in random violence, suicide and auto and other accidents, but mass shootings also deserve our attention for the very reason that makes them mass shootings. They are periods of concentrated action, designed to kill as many people in as short a period as a hateful person or persons can accomplish.
Our hearts and thoughts go out to the victims and their families.