“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” -Mahatma Gandhi
On October 1st, 2017, our nation desperately tried to comprehend the terrifying reality that had struck Las Vegas: that overnight, 58 people had been killed and over 500 injured in the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.
From his 32nd floor window in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, lone gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd of gleeful and unsuspecting Route 91 Harvest festival attendees, before taking his own life. Prior to this iniquity, Paddock appeared to have been just another amicable, mentally stable 64 year old, contentedly living out his retirement in Reno. Those acquainted with Paddock now grapple with the actuality of his character, taken aback by the unobtrusiveness and consequences of his madness.The resounding damage inflicted by Paddock is seen even in Bedford, with members of our own community coming close to attending the Route 91 Harvest festival.
The subsequent reaction to this tragedy has been overwhelming, with Americans rallying around the victims of the Las Vegas shooting. As of October 11th, over fifteen million dollars has been raised for those wounded in the shooting, and vigils for the deceased have appeared across the country. Moreover, the immediate and successful reaction of Las Vegas law enforcement officers has been praised by figures such as President Donald J. Trump, who remarked on how, “[…]police officers were standing up as targets to help those in danger, and to find where those horrible shots were coming from and we grieve the loss of the law enforcement personnel who were killed in this vicious attack.” Forgetting former divisions, America is unifying to remember the lives lost and stop any future catastrophes. Political affiliations are being discarded as citizens fight for more gun control laws, with harsh objections to the Sportsmen Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act (SHARE Act), an act that would repeal restrictions for gun silencers, coming from both sides of the aisle.
This egregious act of domestic terrorism is horrific, with Stephen Paddock giving a nefarious demonstration of the human capacity for evil. Nevertheless, in the face of such an adversity, Americans have united against Paddock and the hatred he embodies, working to better our society and spread love.