Absolute devastation struck on the night of Oct. 1 at the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada. Between 10:05 P.M. and 10:15 P.M., 64-year-old Stephen Paddock fired hundreds of rifle rounds into the crowd below, from his suite on the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay hotel.
Country singer Jason Aldean was performing the closing performance for approximately 22,000 people at the festival, when the shooting began. 58 people, excluding the shooter, perished because of the shooting- Resulting in the deadliest mass shooting committed by an individual in the United States. Approximately 500 were injured. Paddock was found dead about an hour later from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Police state that the motive is unknown. Stephen Paddock’s father, Benjamin Hoskins Paddock, was a bank robber and prison escapee who was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list in 1969. He was also diagnosed as psychopathic, as stated on his wanted poster.
Steve Campbell, a Professor/Coordinator Graphic Design and Web Design & Development at Lewis and Clark Community College, states, “I am saddened by the fact that anyone would deem another human life worthless enough to snuff out with so little regard of the suffering it causes, let alone en masse. In my opinion, every human life matters…and it is not up to us as individuals to judge importance or worth; that is up to God alone.”
An incident like this not only brings up gun safety law discussion, but also general safety and well being in public. “This, and other recent tragedies like it, cause us to question our safety in common everyday situations, let alone in travel to large cities or to large venues for concerts, etc. It takes away the innocence of living happily unaware and unafraid,” states Campbell.
Dixie Gausling, an adjunct Instructor – Digital Photography at L&C, states, “I think that this type of senseless violence is becoming too frequent and it will cause many people to re-think going outside of their homes. It is almost not worth the risk to go to a concert or movie these days because you never know if you will come home alive.”
When asked what steps could be taken to try and prevent another incident like this happening, Gausling states, “I am a supporter of stricter gun laws. I am not against anyone’s right to arm themselves if they wish but I do believe that it is entirely too easy for someone to get their hands on guns – especially high-powered automatic weapons. I do not feel that those types of guns are really needed for the average person to protect themselves and their families. I think stricter enforcement on waiting periods and possibly better background checking would be a start.” Campbell states that, “I am not a strict gun control advocate, but neither am I a member of the NRA. I believe we each have the right to feel protected and safe. You can legislate gun safety laws, but you can’t legislate morality…that can only be taught through love and tolerance in the home.”
Gausling says, “I feel very strongly that this parlays into needing to have more open conversations and more assistance with mental health issues. I feel that anyone who can go out and just open fire on a crowd of innocent people has very serious mental health issues. I don’t feel that enough is being done in this society to take preventative steps when someone is mentally ill and could really benefit from professional help. I think the stigma causes many individuals to refuse to seek help when things START to get out of hand and that really needs to change!”
To make a donation to help the victims and families of the shooting, please visit http://bit.ly/2xP4A9l.