On Sunday, hundreds of shots rang out during a country music concert while singer Jason Aldean was performing on stage. Chaos erupted, as concert-goers had no idea where the shots were coming from or how many active shooters there were. People ran for cover while bullets whizzed by. Several survivors voiced their stories of running through piles of bodies, some dead and some still fighting for life. No one knew if they would be the next to meet their end.
The shooting went on for what seemed to the survivors to be an eternity. Thankfully, the shooter was soon stopped by area law enforcement.
What We Know
24 hours after the shooting, there are 59 innocent people confirmed to be dead, and over 500 wounded. This is now officially the largest mass shooting in US history, surpassing the June 12, 2016 shooting of Orlando’s Pulse nightclub.
With terrorism becoming a more regular occurrence, the same question was on everyone’s mind: who was the shooter?
Police ultimately identified 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, a retired Nevada resident and multimillionaire that made his money in real estate. Paddock had positioned himself on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, which sits right across from the concert stage. He had been staying there since September 28th.
This news caught many off guard. Why would a millionaire shoot hundreds of innocent people, and then eventually himself when located by police?
According to what we know, Stephen Paddock was not in any financial trouble. Further, according to his brother, “No affiliation, no religion, no politics. He never cared about any of that stuff… He was a guy who had money. He went on cruises and gambled.”
Perhaps the ongoing investigation will reveal a reason behind this madness, or confirm that we are simply dealing with someone who was seriously mentally ill.
According to the Las Vegas Police Department, Paddock had 23 firearms in his hotel room. Some of these guns had been outfitted with scopes and tripods set up by the window to execute the shooting. Police discovered multiple fully automatic weapons. Such weapons are illegal for average owners under US law. However, it remains unclear if Paddock bought these weapons via a special license or permit.
The hundreds of rounds of ammunition and over 20 guns suggests premeditated killing just like all terrorist attacks. However, Paddock’s motives still remain unclear.
My prayers, as well as the prayers of millions of others, go up for the victims and their families. This act of evil, despite being so horrible, has also brought about an act of human generosity. Hundreds of individuals have lined up on city blocks to donate their blood to the injured.
As Americans, we have a choice in tragedies like this. We can let it divide us, or we can come together as a country against those that seek to tear us apart.