America’s Deadliest Mass Shooting

Daymara Fernandez, Staff Writer

History was made on Oct. 1 in Las Vegas, Nevada, when a man opened fire in what is now being considered the deadliest mass shooting the country has ever experienced.  The shooter, Stephen Paddock, sent over 22 thousand bullets flying at attendees of the Route 91 Harvest Festival. The death count currently stands at 58 people, with an estimated 500 more injured. Authorities have reported that Paddock shot for over ten minutes from a 32nd-floor window from the Mandalay Bay Hotel. Paddock, who was found dead after committing suicide, is now the man responsible for the worst, deadliest shooting in modern North American history.

Police officers and detectives of the area are still unsure of  Stephen Paddock’s motives. However, they do know that he had checked into the hotel days before the shooting and set up 23 weapons that would function like automatic guns and have the capability of shooting many rounds of ammunition in a short period of time.

Authorities also found ingredients used for creating explosives inside of his house and car, as well as cameras which were supposedly set up by Paddock inside the hotel room, hallway and the outside area near the concert and hotel. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is still investigating the incident and the significance of these findings. A Clark County sheriff believes the cameras were used by Paddock to provide surveillance of his surroundings. Police are searching all his records, trying to figure out his intentions.

Authorities recently began to interrogate Stephen Paddock’s girlfriend, Marilou Danley, who suspiciously left to the Philippines with an Australian passport before the shooting. She claims she had no idea this was going on, and that he would never have intentions to harm anyone. Her sisters, who were also questioned, defended all of these allegations. Danley fully defends him, stating, “I knew Stephen Paddock as a kind, caring, quiet man… He never said anything to me or took any action that I was aware of that I understood in any way to be a warning that something horrible like this was going to happen.”

“This event is truly heartbreaking and tragic, and it proves anything could happen unexpectedly in only a matter of seconds. It gives us a new perspective on life and alters our reality as we know it. Who knows what the future will hold,” freshman Felicity Palacios said.

This event has once again prompted the conversation about gun control, and how it’s increasingly becoming an issue that our country must address in some way. Some, primarily left-wing protesters, have called for the abolishment of the NRA, the National Rifle Association, and better revision of our gun control laws or complete banning of the right to bear arms. Others, including the NRA, claim that getting rid of these weapons isn’t going to change anything, as they see that if criminals wish to cause harm, they will find a way. After the incident, the NRA released a statement explaining their view on the matter: “The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations. In an increasingly dangerous world, the NRA remains focused on our mission: strengthening Americans’ Second Amendment freedom to defend themselves, their families and their communities.” Even some witnesses of the shooting don’t want to revise these laws, claiming that Paddock “bought the guns legally… but modified them illegally,” Toby and Kelsey Clark, a couple who were at the concert that night, said. Many Democratic Representatives and the Arms Control Association (ACA), however, disagree with this belief.

“I think that if our country isn’t ready to have a conversation about gun control and gun regulations now, it’s not going to happen. There have been so many incidents over the past few years, and this conversation has been prompted long enough. I think that because of the demographics of the people who were affected by this particular incident…these types of conversations will start,” French teacher Lauren Redondo says.

With the massive amount of deaths caused by the shooting, many people are mourning the loss of a loved one or praying for their injured family members to recover. Even President Trump flew to Las Vegas to pay his respects to the victims. “We met patients that were terribly wounded… And the doctors, the nurses, all of the people at the hospital, have done a job that is indescribable,” he said upon returning from visits to hospitals where victims were being treated. Apart from tweets expressing his sorrow, President Trump has not spoken about the implications of the incident or made a statement about the aforementioned debate on gun control.

If you want to learn more, click here for an updated report by CNN on the incident.