Last Sunday brought about the worst and the best traits of humanity.
Stephen Paddock, 64, opened fire on a crowd during a Jason Aldean concert at about 10:08 p.m. in Las Vegas, Nevada. Paddock targeted the crowd from a hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. A recent CNN update reports that Paddock injured more than 500 people in the audience, with 59 fatally wounded.
Paddock committed suicide before SWAT was able to break into the crime scene.
According to CNN, the Las Vegas shooting, “is the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.”
In the aftermath of the massacre, both survivors and ambulances rushed to take the wounded to the hospital. It was then that stories, both agonizing and inspiring, started pouring into local and national news stations, reaching the shocked ears of the American populace.
There were heartbreaking tales of individuals holding their loved ones or complete strangers in their arms as they passed, to ensure they didn’t die alone. Men and women were risking their safety to drag the injured to safety, or shielding family members with their bodies, protecting them from the onslaught of bullets being rained down.
Some of the heroes didn’t return from the massacre alive.
The stories of the heroes, and the tragedies brought upon innocent people by Paddock, are a grim, but much needed wake up call.
The United States of America is a country that has dealt with and suffered through numerous tragedies in the form of mass shootings. But, we are still desensitized to the word “terrorist.” The American public assumes that terrorism only applies to Muslims, or refugees.
Anyone can have a license to own and shoot a gun, but a small percentage use that right for evil, for murder and horror. Whether that person is a different race or worships a different God has no meaning. It is only a description we latch onto and use to blame for whatever tragedy that may come our way.
Religion doesn’t make a single person more violent or dangerous, it is simply an excuse used to incite their agenda. While Stephen Paddock’s personal agenda is unknown, he did exactly what any terrorist would do: created violence, fear and chaos.
Terrorists aren’t only Muslim or from the Middle East. They can be white. They can be American. They can be here, in our country, our home.
This isn’t a problem for Europe, or for ISIS. It is not a situation to be shoved under the rug because the thought of a white American shooting to kill makes us uncomfortable, or doesn’t fit the stereotype we have grown accustomed to.
Pointing fingers and playing the political blame game didn’t help us in the past, and it isn’t helping us now. It’s our problem. And it’s about time that we start taking action about it.