Fifty eight people have been reported dead now. Over 500 injured.
You don’t need talking heads or cable news pundits to tell you what happened, or to tell you what to think. It doesn’t matter how “Presidential” Donald Trump was in his statement this morning. It is not helpful to compare what he said to how President Obama reacted. It does not matter what political affiliation Stephen Paddock belongs to. It doesn’t matter if ISIS takes responsibility for the massacre that took place in Las Vegas. It doesn’t matter what Stephen Paddock’s brother says. How that right-wing idiot responds on Twitter is of no consequence. It doesn’t matter if he’s Antifa or Neo-Nazi. It doesn’t matter if it is politicized an hour after the events or the next day.
Do not play that game. Do not engage in it. It flat-out obscures the point, and it doesn’t bring back anyone’s life. You cannot win an argument on Twitter or Facebook (handclap emoji!).
The tragedy speaks for itself. Statistics are not necessary to explain what happened. Everything you need to know is contained within this single sentence:
“A person using a semiautomatic weapon shot and killed 58 people and wounded over 500 others.”
You do not need to look beyond that sentence to understand what transpired. It doesn’t matter if he bought the gun legally or illegally, or where he purchased the gun (from WalMart or the black market). What matters is that the gun was manufactured and made for public consumption at all. Semiautomatic weapons exist for one reason only: To inflict mass casualties. This person used the gun for its intended purpose. If someone buys a hairdryer, you cannot express shock because they used it to blow dry their hair. That’s what it’s for.
It doesn’t matter who that person was, either: He is dead. The availability of those guns, however, continues.
That is the only story that matters, because you can’t solve sociopathy. You can’t legislate away evil. We cannot capably protect ourselves against random acts of mass violence. But we can stop weapons of mass destruction from being used on innocent people. Step 1) Stop making them available; Step 2) stop manufacturing them.
Will it prevent violence? Absolutely not. People will continue to kill people. Every day. They will use knives or handguns or cars or homemade bombs or their bare hands. But it will prevent them from being able to kill scores of people with incredible ease.
Is it so much to ask to make it difficult for someone to inflict mass casualties? Should it not be more difficult to purchase a semiautomatic weapon than it is to drive a car? Or obtain a passport?
Access to that weapon is the only issue at play here, because that weapon is the only difference between 2 or 3 people dead and 60, between 7 or 8 wounded and 500.