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Outsiders vs. Insiders: Las Vegas aftermath – guns don’t kill people, cultural rot does

Americans all across the country stood paralyzed in shock yesterday as news trickled in about the mass shooting that took dozens of lives and injured hundreds more late Sunday night in Las Vegas, Nevada.

As is always the case with these appalling tragedies, details were agonizingly slow to be released and we still can’t answer why anyone would perpetrate such carnage. It will likely take days or weeks to determine what possessed the apparent lone gunman (64 year-old Stephen Paddock) to shatter windows in a high-rise hotel Trump speechand randomly rain down gunfire on innocent people enjoying a sold-out country music concert below.

President Trump offered a brief message of condolences to the victims and their families and expressed gratitude for the police and law enforcement personnel who quickly responded to the attack and aided the victims.

From CNN, Trump said (in part), “I want to thank the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and all of the first responders for their courageous efforts, and for helping to save the lives of so many. The speed with which they acted is miraculous, and prevented further loss of life. To have found the shooter so quickly after the first shots were fired is something for which we will always be thankful and grateful. It shows what true professionalism is all about.

“Hundreds of our fellow citizens are now mourning the sudden loss of a loved one -- a parent, a child, a brother or sister. We cannot fathom their pain. We cannot imagine their loss. To the families of the victims: We are praying for you and we are here for you, and we ask God to help see you through this very dark period.

“Scripture teaches us, ‘The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.’ We seek comfort in those words, for we know that God lives in the hearts of those who grieve. To the wounded who are now recovering in hospitals, we are praying for your full and speedy recovery, and pledge to you our support from this day forward…”

The president is known for his bluntness and coarse language use at times but he’s also not afraid to talk about God in his addresses to the nation, a marked change from his predecessor who was noticeably skittish about looking too “Christian” or religious. Trump further called for unity and continued prayers for the victims and their families. It was an appropriate statement, very sober and presidential.

One thing Trump did not do was utter anything that could remotely be interpreted as political.

What else is there to say under such circumstances? Words alone could not alter the situation on the ground in Nevada. The TV commentators covering the incident interviewed various witnesses and experts who unanimously agreed on how little that could be done to prevent these types of attacks if indeed it turns out Paddock acted alone.

Of course it was noted throughout the day that at least ten long-range rifles were found in the killer’s hotel room where he lay dead from a self-inflicted wound. One can only imagine the lengths someone would need to go in order to plan the assault and the difficulty of concealing the weapons of death from detection by the security forces. Were people just not looking? Logistically it almost defies belief.

Sadly, it was the murderer’s lifeless arsenal that drew almost immediate focus from some Democrat politicians.

Philip Wegmann of the Washington Examiner commented on Hillary Clinton’s reactions, “Hillary Clinton urged America not to politicize the Las Vegas shooting. Then Hillary Clinton immediately turned around and politicized the Las Vegas shooting. With 50 dead and more than 400 wounded, the failed Democrat presidential nominee took a cheap shot at the NRA.”

Wegmann reported Clinton tweeted, “Las Vegas, we are grieving with you—the victims, those who lost loved ones, the responders, & all affected by this cold-blooded massacre.”

and,

“The crowd fled at the sound of gunshots.

“Imagine the deaths if the shooter had a silencer, which the NRA wants to make easier to get.”

The NRA? What do gun rights groups have to do with this incident? Aside from the fact firearms were used to commit the crime it’s apparent that no pro-gun political organization was in any way connected to the murder spree.

Wegmann then pointed out that “silencers” do not make a gun silent – far from it. So not only was Clinton way out of line by making a blatant political point, she was basing it on a false premise that the death and injury toll would have increased if the evil NRA had its way. It’s not difficult to contemplate how Hillary would have treated this type of crime if she had been sworn-in as president in January instead of Trump. Rather than issue a plain statement of grief and requests for prayers the Democrat would be leveraging the tragedy to try and push gun control.

How do we know this? Because Obama did the same thing for eight years as did Bill Clinton in the 90s. To these people there’s nothing quite like mangled corpses and bleeding wounds to direct the nation’s attention towards the possibility of giving the government more power.

Other members of the Obama administration confirmed the “use every tragedy” strategy. Melissa Quinn of the Washington Examiner reported, “Former Vice President Joe Biden called for Congress and the White House to enact gun control legislation after a gunman killed more than 50 people and wounded at least 500 others at a country music festival in Las Vegas on Sunday night, and said there is ‘no excuse for inaction.’

“’Appalled by the senseless loss of life in Las Vegas. Jill and I hold all those affected and grieving in our hearts,’ Biden tweeted Monday. ‘How long do we let gun violence tear families apart? Enough. Congress & the WH should act now to save lives. There's no excuse for inaction.’”

It used to be liberal politicians had to seek out a willing establishment journalist to let loose their nonsense, but now, thanks to the miracle of social media and the internet their stream of consciousness blabberings are practically instantaneous. The media then fulfills its role as official echo chamber of the Democrat party and the opinions are rebroadcast to a national audience.

Bodies remained in the places where they fell in Las Vegas and already Democrats were rushing to take advantage of yet another senseless act of violence to push their agenda. The shameless politicization of the incident was even more ludicrous since it was obvious from the outset that no type of law or restriction Democrats proposed in the past would have prevented a single bullet from discharging from Paddock’s firearms.

Numerous witnesses indicated the shots were fired from an automatic weapon which, if true, has already been illegal since the early eighties. It’s not currently known where the killer got his rifles but preventative measures either failed to reveal his mental state or keep him from obtaining his guns. The same could be said for other mass shootings – gun control would only serve to bar law abiding citizens from arming themselves, not keep criminals’ hands off of firepower if they were determined enough to obtain it.

The question thus becomes whether we should attempt to confiscate all guns in hopes of deterring criminals or defer to the wisdom of the Founding Fathers and the Second Amendment and put the trust in private citizens’ hands to use them responsibly.

Take into account the fact that there are over 300 million firearms in America today and it would be a practical impossibility to “outlaw” guns even if you could get such a bill passed in Congress (and signed by the president) and through certain constitutional challenges in the courts. Therefore, the gun control nuts’ posturing is all feel-good hot air and blatant opportunism anchored on the blood and suffering of innocent victims.

For their part, the good folks at the White House didn’t want any of the media’s gun restriction hysteria. Gabby Morrongiello reported in the Washington Examiner, “’Today is a day for consoling survivors and mourning those we lost. There is a time and place for a political debate but now is the time to unite as a country,’[Trump press secretary Sarah Huckabee] Sanders told reporters when asked whether Sunday's deadly shooting in Las Vegas has changed the president's attitude toward Second Amendment protections.

“’It would be premature for us to discuss policy when we don't fully know all the facts about what took place last night,’ Sanders continued.”

As highlighted above, a lack of facts never stops the Democrats from talking policy. To them the issue has nothing to do with the reality of the situation – all they want is the appearance of doing something about a perceived problem no matter how frivolous and offensive to citizens.

The truth is we just don’t know enough about what happened in Las Vegas to make an educated guess as to what caused Paddock to commit arguably the single most notorious crime in American history. Rational human beings simply don’t do what he did. Some acts come with no explanation and some problems have no obvious solution.

Maybe instead of gun control we need to emphasize more morality in American society, particularly the Judeo Christian ethic of “Thou shalt not kill.” Religion alone won’t prevent all such acts from occurring but in a culture that’s as diseased as ours, it certainly couldn’t hurt.

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Guns Don't Kill People, People Kill People: Privilege of Paddock

Aside from the obvious - to rational people - fact that the NRA is about rights, education, and responsibility, and only advocates for defense, not offense, with weapons, there are the questions of why, and how.

In spite of the claims by ISIS to have recruited Paddock, it is much more likely that he is a lone loony, especially considering the record of his father (and I feel really badly for his mother, brother, and family members). Indeed, because we hear so little of his background, we can assume that the media have been unable to tie him to any right wing organization, or indeed, may have discovered that he's a left wing loony like so many before him - when that happens, the media suddenly have nothing to tell us!

How did he go undetected? We did learn the Paddock was a frequent, high-rolling, and surprisingly successful gambler - he tended not to lose his shirt, but come out ahead. This give him the cover he needed to get away with almost anything as a seven star guest at the resort: High floor and the right view - certainly, sir; a few days without the room being serviced - merely eccentric; hauling in extra bags - no problem. In other words, Paddock was just odd enough, and a big enough gambler, that the hotel staff thought nothing of it until all hell broke loose.