Death from above in Las Vegas

La Semana - - FRONT PAGE / PORTADA -

59 peo­ple have died so far in the dead­li­est mass shoot­ing the United States has ever seen, a blood drenched mas­sacre on the Las Vegas Strip that left more than 520 oth­ers in­jured. What may have con­trib­uted to the high death and in­jury toll is a de­vice called a “bump stock,” which is used to con­vert legally avail­able semi-au­to­matic weapons into what ef­fec­tively be­come fully au­to­matic killing ma­chines.


As­so­ci­ated Press re­ported that two “bump stocks” were found in the Man­dalay Bay ho­tel room where sus­pected shooter Stephen Pad­dock car­ried out the at­tack. And al­though it has not yet been re­vealed if any of the 23 guns found in Pad­dock’s room had been con­verted to func­tion as fully au­to­matic as­sault weapons, au­dio record­ings of the hor­rific in­ci­dent, as well as eye-wit­ness ac­counts, tend to sup­port this pos­si­bil­ity.

It was just a lit­tle over a year ago – on June 19, 2016 – that 49 peo­ple were shot to death and at least 50 more were wounded at the Pulse night­club in Or­lando, Florida. At that time the Pulse shoot­ings held the record for the worst mass shoot­ing in mod­ern Amer­i­can his­tory, a ter­ri­ble dis­tinc­tion that was sur­passed this week in Las Vegas.

No mo­tive has been sug­gested for why the 60 year old re­tired ac­coun­tant and real es­tate in­vestor, who was said to be a multi-mil­lion­aire with no pre­vi­ous en­coun­ters with the law and no his­tory of men­tal ill­ness, wound up on the 32nd floor of a lux­ury ho­tel rain­ing death from above on in­no­cent coun­try mu­sic fans en­joy­ing a con­cert on what be­gan as a lovely evening out­doors.

Cal­i­for­nia Sen­a­tor Diane Fe­in­stein, a gun con­trol ad­vo­cate ever since she be­came mayor of San Fran­cisco fol­low­ing the shoot­ing death of her pre­de­ces­sor, called for a ban on the sale of “bump stocks.”

“In­di­vid­u­als are able to pur­chase bump fire stocks for less than $200,” Fe­in­stein said, “and eas­ily con­vert a semi-au­to­matic weapon into a firearm that can shoot be­tween 400 and 800 rounds per minute and in­flict ab­so­lute car­nage.”

Other politi­cians, in­clud­ing Hil­lary Clin­ton, are rais­ing the cry to not just out­law “bump stocks,” but to take a se­ri­ous look into mak­ing the semi-au­to­matic weapons used for con­ver­sion more dif­fi­cult to ob­tain.

Late night talk show host Jimmy Kim­mel pled with law­mak­ers to take ac­tion, say­ing on air, “They should be pray­ing for God to for­give them for let­ting the gun lobby run this coun­try. Be­cause it is - it is so crazy.”

Pres­i­dent Trump, al­though de­cry­ing the Las Vegas shoot­ings as “an act of pure evil,” re­mains pub­licly op­posed to al­most all re­stric­tions on the sale of firearms.

Po­lice said Pad­dock took his own life as they were pre­par­ing to breach his ho­tel room. (La Se­m­ana)

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