The Las Vegas Shooting and What We Can Do
October 8th, 2017
On October 1, 2017, Stephen Paddock opened fire on a concert in Las Vegas, Nevada, killing 58 people and wounding 489; the crime was the largest and deadliest mass shooting with a single perpetrator in modern U.S. history. Paddock, a 64-year-old terrorist local to the Las Vegas area, had been staying at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino since September 28; at around 10:05 pm PST, he began shooting rounds of fire into the Jason Aldean concert crowd below. The shots continued until 10:15, when Paddock took his own life; he was found by police ten minutes later. When searching his room, the police found 35 firearms and ammunition, and materials for explosives in his car. There is no known motive.
In the past 477 days there have been 521 mass shootings in the United States. 521 in 477 days. After every mass shooting there’s the same discussion of “never again”, but “never again” never happens. The United States is caught in an endless cycle of thoughts and prayers and “ #prayfor___”s, but the country is growing numb to the recurring violence. We cannot wait for more people to die. Action from the people needs to come now, especially when the government is not doing enough of it for us.
Call your senators and representatives. People think this doesn’t really work, but the best thing to do right now to keep mass shootings like Las Vegas from happening in future. For New York City, go here to search for your representative by zip-code. Doing this is especially important if you live in a state with a Republican senator or representative, but, even in a blue state (like New York), having your voice heard is crucial in effecting social change. Tell your representative to:
Support legislation to ban bump stocks, attachments that allow semi-automatic rifles to shoot like automatic rifles (which have been banned in the US for years), and which were used by Paddock during the Las Vegas attacks.
Oppose a bill to legalize silencers, which silence the sound of a gun, making it more difficult to tell where shooting is coming from.
Speak out/vote against CCR, a bill that would make concealed carry permits authorized in one state (where concealed carry is legal) legal in all states.
You can also look on the internet for petitions calling on the government to discuss gun control.
On top of calling your senators and representatives, consider attending a town hall. Town halls are a crucial part of Congress as they allow citizens to have direct contact with their representatives and to bring up questions and issues. Town halls are not always super accessible, since they are not very often and are sometimes hard to find out about, but if you can, attend one so you can ask your senators or reps about gun control in person.
Since the Las Vegas Shooting, there has been an increase in plans for anti-gun violence marches and events around New York City. If you can, attend a march or rally; it is important to get out on the streets in person and show the world that you care about this issue. There is always power in numbers, and speaking out about the issue in volume lets representatives know that this is something people are truly passionate about.
One of the most important things that you can do is to educate people on what needs to be done. So many people don’t know what to do to help in a situation like this, or simply don’t know what gun control in America would look like. A lot of people, for instance, believe gun control consists of the government simply seizing all guns. This is false. Make sure that your family and friends (or not friends) are educated on what is going on and what is at stake.
Social media is an important way to educate people, but it also allows for all of the pitfalls, of empty, performative activism (or “slacktivism”). More than ranting on your Instagram or Facebook, you need to get out on the streets and use whatever power you have to speak out on issues that matter to you -- right now, a key one of these issues should be gun control. And as students in loud, diverse, busy NYC, can’t vote, we can still play key roles in letting our representatives know what matters to us. We can’t just sit down and type some praying emojis and move on -- actual change needs to be exacted, so “never again” becomes reality.