The Las Vegas massacre, which has been dubbed the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, presents a new set of challenges and questions for Americans—but many politicians and celebrities are using it to make the usual calls for gun control.
The shooting left 59 people dead and 527 injured, and the official story is that it was carried out by Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old man whose life is missing all of the qualities that make up the profile of a typical mass shooter. Among a number of glaring inconsistencies, Paddock appears to have been a happy, rich, retired man. Along with his actions in the days leading up to the shooting, the idea that he transported 23 firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition up to his hotel room—and it went unnoticed by the hotel’s cleaning service for days—simply does not add up.
However, instead of pursuing justice for the victims by searching for answers that go beyond the official narrative of how the shooting occurred, a number of politicians and celebrities have responded by calling for gun control.
Hillary Clinton wasted no time in politicizing the tragedy, taking to Twitter just hours after the shooting occurred, to write that Americans should “stand up to the NRA” in the exact same Tweet that she wrote Americans “must put politics aside.”
Our grief isn't enough. We can and must put politics aside, stand up to the NRA, and work together to try to stop this from happening again.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 2, 2017
Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein shared similar sentiments, criticizing “easy access to weapons and ammunition” before the majority of the details on the shooting had even been released.
My full statement on the senseless tragedy in Las Vegas: pic.twitter.com/j3Kkaq6D1n
— Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) October 2, 2017
While it is not surprising to hear politicians calling for gun control, their thoughts have been shared by voices in the mainstream media. Hayley Geftman-Gold, a top legal executive at CBS, wrote on Facebook that she was “actually not even sympathetic bc country music fans often are Republican gun toters.”
A number of celebrities have also joined the chorus. Late night TV show host Jimmy Kimmel gave a tearful monologue claiming that Congress “should be praying for God to forgive them for letting the gun lobby run this country.”
“When someone with a beard attacks us, we tap phones, we invoke travel bans, we build walls, we take every possible precaution to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Kimmel said. “But when an American buys a gun and kills other Americans, then there’s nothing we can do about that. And the Second Amendment, I guess, our forefathers wanted us to have AK-47s is the argument, I assume.”
Pop singer Ariana Grande also called for gun control, and for “people to look at this and call this what it is = terrorism.” While Grande is correct in stating that it was an act of terrorism—which many government officials and media figures failed to acknowledge—it should be noted that earlier this year, 22 people were reportedly killed in a bombing outside of her concert in Manchester, UK. Even with strict gun control regulations already in place, an individual with evil intentions was able to carry out an attack that resulted in mass casualties.
My heart is breaking for Las Vegas. We need love, unity, peace, gun control & for people to look at this & call this what it is = terrorism.
— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) October 2, 2017
Caleb Keeter, a guitarist for the Josh Abbott Band who was at the Route 91 Music Festival when the shooting occurred, claimed the tragedy made him change his mind on gun control.
“I’ve been a proponent of the 2nd Amendment my entire life. Until the events of last night, I cannot express how wrong I was,” Keeter proclaimed on Twitter in a screenshot of a message that concluded, “We need gun control. RIGHT. NOW.”
— Caleb Keeter (@Calebkeeter) October 2, 2017
The thing is, while Keeter is correct in stating that a man with a handgun on the ground is no match for a man who was reportedly on the 32nd floor of a building with an automatic rifle—that does not mean that individuals who carry concealed weapons do not have the opportunity to defend themselves on a daily basis.
It was reported on Tuesday that police found ammonium nitrate, the same material used to kill 168 people in the Oklahoma City bombing, in Paddock’s car. Had he chosen to or been able to deploy an explosive device using this material inside a crowd as large as the one at Route 91, the death toll would’ve catastrophically higher than what it was—and no gun would’ve been necessary.
The families and friends of 59 individuals are currently mourning the tragic loss of their loved ones. The families and friends of hundreds of individuals are waiting for the results from surgeries, and preparing for the ways in which the injuries their loved ones have sustained will affect them for the rest of their lives.
The fact that instead of pursuing justice for the victims of the Las Vegas massacre by searching for the truth and questioning the inconsistencies in the official narrative, influential politicians, celebrities, and media figures have instead resorted to calling for gun control, is both disheartening and blatantly irresponsible.