Crisis in Las Vegas


Nicole Capozzi, Sports Editor

Recently the largest shooting in American history occurred in Las Vegas on October 1.  As it occurred only a few days after a school-wide discussion of what to do in the case of a shooting and since mass incidents of violence have become a topic of frequent discussion, the event certainly brought up many questions and thoughts about shootings and gun control.

Personally, I’ve never felt like I had a strong opinion on either side of the gun control debate.  I believe everyone should feel safe as they go about their daily lives, but for some that means having a gun and for some that means no one having a gun.  One common solution for gun control is more strict background checks, but this issue gets more complicated when the shooter isn’t known to have violent tendencies, as happened in the case of the Las Vegas shooting.  Stephen Paddock, the man responsible for the tragic event, had no significant record with law enforcement, with only a citation from a few years ago that was handled in court.  His brother, Eric, mentioned that he knew Stephen had legally purchased some handguns and perhaps also had one long rifle, but he didn’t own any automatic weapons.

So how do you prevent a tragedy like this if even background checks don’t help?  Can you prevent tragedies like this?  Personally, I believe everyone is inherently good, and that somewhere through their life, they begin to act in an evil way.  My belief stems from the fact that I don’t see how an innocent baby could ever have thoughts of anything as violent as what Stephen did, so at some point in his life he must have had something happen to make him violent.  Unfortunately, it is impossible to know what exactly happened to make Stephen violent, as he shot himself after killing 58 people and wounding even more.  Now, not only have so many families been affected by these appalling actions, but they will also never know why such a horrific thing occurred.

Also, on top of the fact 58 people lost their lives, ISIS has claimed responsibility for the shooting.  The terrorist organization, however, did not provide any evidence to prove their role, and Stephen’s brother stated that Stephen had no affiliation with any terror groups.  Does the method for dealing with gun control change when claims by ISIS is involved?  Would the same presented methods of gun control still work?  I don’t think there is any definite answer, but I don’t believe the same method would work because ISIS is a terrorist group that obviously does not follow American laws.  Therefore, how could you possibly stop something that is occurring illegally with more laws?  If shooters haven’t followed laws in the past, why would they start now?  The problem with the gun control arguments that have been put forth is that there is no way to persuade shooters to follow the law.  It seems to me that gun issues in the past have been as a result of an emotional issue of some kind, and emotions can’t be regulated by the government.  

Is there something individuals can do?  I think all you truly can do is report anything you see that is suspicious and talk to people when they seem to be having a hard time.  No one person can prevent all shootings, but reporting suspicious behavior, no matter what the person’s relation to you, could help.  The other key thing I think could help is simply by being sure those around you are okay, emotionally and physically.  Sometimes it seems that, had someone resolved some issue by rationally speaking about their emotions, a bigger problem could have been avoided.  This idea may not apply directly to this situation, as I don’t know enough about Stephen Paddock’s life, but it seems that in some other situations involving shooters, they were able to be talked into stopping.  This fact leads me to believe that perhaps words can help even in violent situations.