On October 1, 2017, a gunman opened fire on a group of unsuspecting concert goers at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Nevada. This act of carnage left 58 people dead and 546 people injured. Since then, the Las Vegas Shootings has been known as the deadliest mass shooting in America, killing almost 10 more people than the Orlando shootings did in 2016.
As expected, this incident brought up the issue of gun control in America again. Stephen Paddock, the identified gunman, had managed to procure over 20 firearms and a large amount of ammunition to carry out the killings. Some of the weapons used were even modified with “bump stocks”, a device that allows a semiautomatic rifle to fire rounds faster, at a rate similar to a fully automatic weapon. Both store owners of the shops he got his weapons from declared that all necessary background checks were carried out and Paddock was deemed fit to purchase his firearms. (If you’re 18 years old and aren’t otherwise barred from gun ownership, you can legally purchase a firearm from a gun show or from a seller on the internet.) Once again, this raised questions on whether background checks should be made more stringent, and whether civilians should be allowed to own firearms at all.
Another puzzling part of this incident is the fact that the police have yet to find out about the motives behind the shooting. It is crucial that the FBI profiles the perpetrator, to ensure that future tragedies have a higher chance of being prevented so long as we are able to identify people like him. However, in this case, Paddock does not fall into any of the obvious profiles of a mass shooter. Paddock was not identified to be part of any extremist or racial hate groups, affiliations that may possibly drive seemingly normal people to commit such heinous crimes. He was also relatively financially successful, and had no criminal records, factors that contributed to him passing the background checks for firearms purchases as well. If the seemingly average citizen like Paddock can turn out to be the deadliest shooter in modern US history, there seems to be little hope for the police to be able to weed out suspects like him before they attack in the future.
The Las Vegas Shooting was the 273rd mass shooting of the year. As tensions and debates on gun controls heat up after Sandy Hook and Orlando, activists are taking the chance to push for the Second Amendment (“A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. “) to be repealed after the Las Vegas shootings. Some may argue that in view of US being a democratic state, it is the right of individuals to purchase and own firearms. However, is democracy and free will really at work here if the rights and freedom of individuals to live freely and safely are constantly being infringed upon? The reality is that true democracy and freedom comes at the expense of the sacrifice of some things; only then can a balance between the different ideals of freedoms of different groups of people be striked. Absolute freedom is unsustainable and will lead to its abuse, as is happening in USA today.