The over night shooting in Las Vegas, resulting in the death of over 50 persons attending a country music concert is a tragic statement about America today. The injuries of hundreds…yes, hundreds, is still being assessed. 50 deaths, hundreds of injuries…it almost sounds like a fake news story, but it is not! How in the world! But it did in fact happen.
The shooter, described by his family as a “regular, nothing unusual, nothing notable kind of guy” bears no resemblance to what we have come to think is the profile of a mass casualty shooter from past incidents. No criminal history. No reported extremist ideology. No religious conflicts. No social red flags. No medical/mental abnormalities or indicators. No personal issues of note. We can continue down the “issues” list with the same result. He fits nothing. His profile and history leads to nothing that you could, at this time, support a reasonable concern that he might, one day, assemble a veritable arsenal of handguns and rifles, ammunition and support material, and position himself in an ideal location to rain down death and injury on people like you and me! As for that “you and me” part. There are news reports that there were certain people making comments about the victims at this event being described as “country western music fans”…and thus, “Trump supporters” making the deaths and injuries “ok,” not withstanding logic, humanity, good judgment and reason. I don’t directly know those attributed comments to be accurate, but if true, a disgusting example of the state of things in America today.
To the issue of the actual shooting. Why did this happen?
Simple, because it did!
Why would this happen!
Also simple, because it can!
What does that mean?
It is another of those unfortunate truths about the state of things in America today.
American today is in the throws of social, political and psychological dysfunction. There is the issue of guns and the Constitution. There is the issue of the rights of Americans, both on the side of the right to keep and bear arms, and the right to establish regulations that are considered necessary to prevent incidents such as this Las Vegas shooting, the Florida night club shooting, the many school shootings, the workplace violence shootings…and it goes on. Great arguments can and are made on both sides of the debate…oops, will you be taking that sentence as a “Trumpism?!” Oh well!
I define the debate in terms of dysfunction. Others may suggest it is an issue of logic. Still others say it is basic law and the Constitution. Others are simply from the Left, and see it one way. Or they are from the Right, and see it in the complete opposite way. The Left will hear nothing of the Rights argument, and vise-versa, the Right will not hear the Left.
This is the Las Vegas story in a nutshell:
A man makes one of his frequent trips to the Las Vegas strip, where he is well known as a “high roller” gambler. On this occasion he brings an arsenal of weapons with him. It is unknown at this point if he regularly brought weapons with him, or this was a new thing. He takes up a multi day residency in a large suite, as provided by the hotel to one of their “high rollers.” The location of his room, either by his choice, or by availability, turns out to afford him a clear vantage point to look down upon an open concert venue. He knocks out, or shoots out, two windows of the room. The windows are made fixed shut and cannot be otherwise opened. From what amounts to a “snipers nest” he takes the many weapons he brought to the hotel, along with the overwhelming amount of ammunition, and begins to shoot at the concert going victims.
The victims, not military, not ethnic, not religious, not demonstrators or activists…simple concert goers having a fun night of entertainment. Did he have an issue with the musicians, concert venue or organizers? Did he have an issue with someone in the audience? So why the shooting? Why the violence? Well, he killed himself before police could either capture or kill him. We will not likely get an answer to those questions. People are exhaustively questioning motive and causes. But that will be academic.
What the heck does a person do today in the face of gun violence?
Others in law enforcement, academia, the media and mental health fields will wrestle with the questions and speculation around that. And there will certainly be a big discussion on the gun rights and Constitution issue.
I will go at this from another direction. I look at immediate actions in favor of survival today. Before any discussions, arguments and legal fights get in the way of the here and now survival, I focus on now solutions.
Today, in the hear and now, we must think, act and live aware. We should assume all the possibles that exist in this dangerous world. Where we once thought that violence such as this was reserved for the third world countries and war zones. Today, we know that this is not the current sad reality.
So, do we all need police and military training?
The answer is that we, each and every one of us, need to up our game in preparedness and readiness. We need to presume the impossible, is possible. We should accept that the dangers we are reading about can happen in our neighborhoods, places of entertainment, places of gathering, religious locations, social locations, transportation hubs and sites, schools and offices! What is left? I don’t know, but consider that location, and assume it to be on the list.
That is for us, you and me. But please take note. This is also a time when we need to be teaching our children personal awareness and safety. Just as we once focused on teaching them to duck and cover should there be an earthquake, or move to higher ground in a tsunami, or stay low and move away from heat in a fire. We now need to teach them that if we hear what might be gunfire, or something that sound like it, the should instinctively, or by virtue of training and practice, move themselves to cover. They must get away from the threatening sound and find protection. And please take note. We should not presume that our child care, our baby sitters, their teachers and whomever we task with their care, will also have all the necessary awareness, preparations and willingness to act and protect our children the way you or I would do for them. It is our job first, and last!
Let’s look at the threats that can impact our children. Are our children too young and innocent to be exposed to this kind of extreme education? The answer is simple, are they too young to be injured or killed! A harsh and brutal response, but a true one. Let your child be the one that responds in the smartest manner and survives.
Our police cannot be everywhere. They cannot know who is plotting and planning some stupid and deadly act of violence. We must police ourselves first. And at the same time support our police in their ability to protect us. They must have all the best equipment, the best training, and the support of the people they serve, as we demand the most from them.
Is this a gun issue, as in, too many guns and to easy access?
Perhaps yes, perhaps it is a failure in the existing system of checks and balances. Certainly, it demands a review, just as any act of disaster and damage requires a review and assessment of the who, what, when, where, how and why. The goal in the review would be, not necessarily more regulation, though that could be among the recommended actions, but certainly more and smarter management of the possibles’. We need to make such violence more difficult to accomplish. We need to make ourselves more difficult a target. We need to look at the health and mental status of humans to see if there is some way of impacting the the person that has that homicidal thought…“i am going to kill someone, everyone, and then die myself!” There must be a solution!