Death from above in Las Vegas
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)