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On October 1st, 2017 in Las Vegas during a country music festival a 64-year-old man with no criminal records was able to rain bullets from a high-rise hotel onto a crowd killing 59 people. This event brought up major discussions on what can be done so another mass shooting like this doesn’t take place again. Mass shootings have become a serious problem, not only in the United States but all around the world. The definition of a mass shooting involves the death of four or more people by a firearm. According to I-Ping Lin “There was a total of 100 mass shootings in the U.S. recorded in our compilation of data from January 1982 to May 2018, with 833 fatalities and 1,292 injuries” (Lin, 2018, p. 4). A big topic related to stopping anymore mass shootings in the U.S. is by banning all firearms from the public. The banning of all guns is quite possible and has even been done in other countries like Australia, where any kind of firearm has been banned from public use. Although many believe it to be a right to carry a firearm by the second Amendment in the United States constitution as a way to protect themselves as well as for sport hunting. In the U.S. Americans are divided on whether or not stricter gun laws should be put into action. Not only are Americans divided on gun laws, but it also turns into a political division where Democrats believe gun control policies will reduce the possibility of mass shootings, whereas Republicans believe citizens carrying firearms is more for self-defense. Another subject relating to mass shootings and gun control comes from the National Rifle Association (NRA). Many politicians have been taking aim at the NRA since they are the ones selling the firearms to individuals who could possibly be the next mass shooter like the one in Las Vegas. Background checks have become a concern to the NRA when selling guns, Research has shown that “87% of Americans supported a mandatory background check system for customers and sellers of guns at gun shows” (Kamal, 2018, p. 327). Yet the NRA’s influence on gun policies prevent the initiation of gun-related legislation.
Approximately 2 years ago on October 1st in Las Vegas, Nevada a discrete man by the name of Stephen Paddock carried out a horrifying attack on a large crowd of concertgoers, who were there for a country music festival on a Sunday. Paddock was staying inside a hotel suite high-rise of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino where he set up the base of his attack. Before the dreadful attack took place, Paddock brought 23 different types of weapons in suitcases including military grade AR-15’s and an AK-47 rifle with bullet calibers ranging from .223 to .308. Not only did Paddock have an arsenal of weapons, he also carried a variety of attachments for the weapons like scopes and a stand used to help steady the gun for automatic firing. Paddock also had ammonium nitrate, a chemical that could be used for creating bombs located inside of his vehicle.
A total of 22,000 people was attending the three-day country music festival with the Mandalay Bay hotel located across the street from the main stage of the concert. The shooting began at about 10 p.m. while country singer Jason Aldean was performing his last set of the night. Paddock was able to smash the window of his suite where he had a clear view of the concert and began raining bullets onto thousands of innocent people who had no choice but to flee in terror for safety. A total of 59 people lost their lives with an additional of 527 injuries, not only from the gun fire but also from shrapnel and also some who were being trampled by people trying to escape from the never-ending gunfire. Police and SWAT officer responded immediately to the calls of gunfire and search several floors of the hotel. A security guard was shot in the leg of the hotel through the door of Paddock’s suite, which then ended with Paddock taking his own life before SWAT officers could storm the room.
When the Las Vegas shooters name was released to the public many were disgusted that a single person who has never had any other criminal charges, willingly took the lives of many innocent people. When Stephen Paddock used guns to hurt and kill innocent people at a concert, he broke a more, which structures the differences between what is right or wrong in society. Obviously killing a large number of people is something society views as a wrong that should come with consequences. When people do not conform to norms in society there is a consequence, If Steven Paddock didn’t take his own life, he would’ve face serious sanctions, which are ways to authorize or formally disapprove of certain behaviors. Paddock would’ve faced serious sanctions because he broke a law and killed many people, also known as mass murder which could lead to punishments like life in prison or even death. Before Stephen Paddock committed such a horrible act, he lived a life of high-stake gambling in Las Vegas wagering hundreds of dollars in poker, gambling can even be seen as a practice that many people around the world take part in. When Paddock gambled in poker, he was actually a part of a worldwide culture, which consists of shared beliefs, values, and practices common to members of a group or society. Paddock’s brother told police that Stephen engaged in gambling which might be unsettling for some since a man who committed such a heartless act took part in a cultural activity that many are accustom too. If Paddock were still alive, he would be in court facing his charges for the act that he committed. In this case the judge would be determining his punishment for mass murder, but from society he would have be labeled as a deviant, which is the violation of established contextual, cultural, or codified law, so in order for Paddock to become a deviant he had to break a law in this case was him committing mass murder. When Paddock first started firing bullets onto the crowd of people the first group of people to respond to the shooting were the police. The police arriving to the Mandalay Bay hotel to stop Paddock from hurting anymore people can be seen as social control, which is the regulation of enforcement of norms, since Paddock violated a norm the police were sent to his location to arrest him and bring him to justice for violating society’s norm. After Paddock took his own life detectives and police officers found that Paddock had 23 different types of guns with him including ammunition and other attachments for the weapons. In the United States having a gun is considered a right and can even become a part of a culture, for example gun shows. Owning a gun can even be considered a Material culture, which is the objects, belongings, and resources of a cultural group. Paddock had purchased dozens of weapons legally over years and was even stated by Eric Paddock (Stephen Paddock’s brother) to have taken Eric’s kids skeet shooting. This shows that Paddock continued a lifestyle that wasn’t out of the ordinary to most and could’ve even be considered a part of a gun culture, although his actions in Las Vegas violate this culture. Stephen Paddock can be labeled as a deviant who committed a crime that goes against the norms and laws of society. When we try to understand Paddock’s motives as to why he committed such a deviant act to society we can always look at the conclusions of sociologists Edwin Sutherland who established differential association theory, which proposes that individuals learn deviant behavior from others that are close to each other and who might implement opportunities for deviance. Stephen Paddock might’ve learned his deviant actions from his father who was a notorious bank robber wanted by the FBI and was described as a psychopath with suicidal tendencies.
After reading the article on the Las Vegas shooting I was downhearted, I felt horrible for the victims and their family members who had to go through such a horrific act. Knowing that they might’ve lost a family member made me feel that things need to change. The shooter should not have been able to purchase that many weapons with military upgrades to the weapons without being noticed by the government or local officials. What also upsets me is the fact that it has become common for events like this to happen in the United States without any immediate change. I believe congress and other state officials should be putting all things aside and focus on the at home terrorism that is taking a toll on innocent people as well as the laws behind gun control. No one should have to worry about their lives once they leave their home and no single individual should be able to cause that amount of harm to people with such little effort and time involved. The article itself was written perfectly, it explained everything that took place during the event and had saddening comments from individuals that experienced trauma inducing scenes of victims who have been shot or injured and even killed from the shooter. The author of the article did very well on writing trustworthy news on the event and also did great on clarifying the shooter and the events leading up to the moments of the shooting. I’d also like to appreciate the local authorities who were the first responders to the shooting and were able to help stop the shooter from harming anymore people as well as the surgeons and nurses at the hospital who stayed up all night treating the victims and saving many lives, without them many more people could’ve been killed.
After doing research and reading the article about the Las Vegas shooting I have learned that the U.S. has a big problem with gun control and the laws that are currently placed. I believe that there are more laws backing the right to own a gun than there are laws that would make it strict enough to avoid selling guns to the wrong person. I don’t believe that all guns should be banned but instead that they should be a very long procedure in order to purchase any kind of firearm. One thing I am still curious about is the motive of the shooter, what made him commit such a gruesome attack on innocent people? We’ll probably never find the answer to this question since the shooter took his own life, but it really makes you think on a sociological perspective about this person life and what could’ve pushed this man to the edge.
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