On October 1st 2017, chaos struck the Las Vegas strip as Stephen Paddock opened fire in front of Mandalay Bay Resort–ending 58 lives and injuring 527 more. An evening spent at an open-air country music festival quickly turned into the deadliest mass shooting in the US–surpassing the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, with 49 killed.
Terror spread among the strip as people began darting in every direction as the 64-year old gunman began an eleven minute shooting spree from his 32nd floor hotel room. Twenty-three loaded weapons were found in the hotel room, including multiple rifles, several pounds of ammonium nitrate, and explosives. During the shooters three-day stay at the resort, hotel employees maintained regular checks and did not notice anything amiss.
Country singer, Jason Aldean, was performing when Paddock rained gunfire down upon a crowd of 22,000 people. Many witnesses and survivors among the crowd mistook the first popping sounds as something other than gunshots. “We couldn’t tell where it was coming from,” states Jason Sorenson of Newport Beach, California, “It was horrific. We just started running, and we saw people with blood all over their shirts.” The crowd quickly became cognizant to the horror unfolding as the musician ran off the stage for cover.
In the days following the massacre, the most asked question by America is, “Will anything change?” The event has underscored the ongoing gun control debate present within the United States–calls for tighter measures resurfacing in the wake of the shooting. Politicians such as Hilary Clinton have voiced their opinion via Twitter. Clinton showed her dismay by urging Americans to, “stand up to the National Rifle Association, and work together to try to stop this from happening again.”
On the other side of the argument resides those who attest that regulating firearms will provide no change to the United States. Kentucky Governor, Matt Bevin, distills the gun regulation with a tweet noting, “you can’t regulate evil.”
Regulating guns or not, it is simple fact that mass shootings are penetrating the United States at an alarming rate–275 occurring in 2017 alone.
While the motives behind the deadly rampage remain unclear, all the victims have been identified. Contrasting his brothers motives, Eric Paddock is seeking to raise 1 million dollars for all those effected by the shooting.