SAU Buzz

Shooting in Vegas kills over 50

by Mary Roche
Posted on Oct 04, 2017

The United States mass shooting toll rose Sunday night as a gunman shot down attendees at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas. Stephen Paddock was staying at the Mandalay Bay Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip and fired out of his 32nd-floor window. He was armed with at least ten assault rifles.

"Automatic weapon(s) like that -- had to be numbers of magazines or a very large drum, it sounded to me like a belt-fed weapon, a military-style weapon,” CNN law-enforcement analyst James Gagliano said.

The shooting started during Jason Aldean’s set. Many unsuspecting country music fans did not understand what was going on at first.

"I thought it was fireworks going off and maybe it mistriggered, and then it happened again,” SiriusXM Country radio host Storme Warren said. “And when it happened the third time, we knew something was wrong.”

According to witnesses, the gunshots lasted for around five minutes, and it seemed that concert-goers were like fish in a barrel.

"My sister, being as noble as she is, threw herself on top of me and said, ‘I love you, Taylor,’" attendee Taylor Benge said to CNN. "Even after an hour and 30 minutes, I didn't know if I was safe."

Police found him in his room, where he killed himself and have obtained a warrant for his apartment.

Paddock’s brother spoke to the Las Vegas Review-Journal about the shooting.

"There is no reason we can imagine why Stephen would do something like this," he said. “We have no idea how this happened. It’s like an asteroid just fell on top of our family.”

People at the festival used their own cars to help bring victims to hospitals and Las Vegans lined up to give blood. Celebrities have expressed their support through Twitter and artists who performed at the festival seemed especially upset. All of them have said they are safe at this point.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department kept people updated through Twitter and alerts, sharing information traffic and about how to find loved ones. A few on- and off-duty officers were also injured or killed in the shooting.

This shooting took place less than a year and a half after the Pulse Nightclub shooting in June 2016. Now, the Las Vegas shooting has taken the place of Pulse as deadliest mass shooting in United States history.

On initial investigation, 64-year-old Paddock had no outside affiliations. The Las Vegas police department called him a “lone-wolf-type.” This language has been used often to describe white male shooters with no outside affiliations. In situations where shooters are not white, they are often referred to as terrorists or Islamic extremists. To logically use these terms, it would only be fair to call most white shooters Christian extremists too. This rhetoric has created an atmosphere of wariness and fear around people of other races, while historically, white men with guns and prejudices have caused the greatest harm to Americans in recent years.

“This could be linked to toxic forms of masculinity, domestic violence and certain types of marginalization, like bullying, in this country,” professor of sociology and criminal justice Dr. Pat Archer said. “Add to all of this the ease in which people can legally obtain firearms in this country and there is a recipe for this kind of violence.”

Mass shootings and domestic terrorism seem to have become an everyday occurrence in the United States. Every few months or so, we hear about a tragedy and tweet, update our Facebook profile picture frame and share a post about prayers and thoughts being with victims and their families. These actions are better than nothing, but as a country, we should decide whether these are occurrences we can live with. To contact elected officials, go to https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials.