A tragic reality: Las Vegas will change nothing

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Photo by Jessica Wade

James Hill
CONTRIBUTOR

America woke up to two very painful realities on Oct. 2—the reality that evil is still alive and the certainty that nothing will be done about it.

Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old retired accountant,rained down hell into a crowd of 22,000 for 11 minutes from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. He did thiswith an automatic rifle during the Route 91 Harvest Festival late on Oct. 1. Paddock killed 59 people and wounded 527 in a few short minutes. He took his own life when police entered his hotel room. We will never know his true intentions.

Some are saying Paddock does not fit the profile of someone who could commit such an evil act. When the profile is being brown with a beard, or havinga long history of mental illnesses, or being a black “thug” from a gang or being a white hick with swastika tattoos, it is very easy not to seem like a mass murderer. Paddock is not some anomaly. He fits the mold of a sociopath to a T.

Sociopaths lack empathy,have difficult relationships, are master manipulators, are deceitful andaggressive and have plenty of risky behaviors. Paddock shot into a crowd of thousands while they attended a concert. He did not care for human life. Paddock was twice divorced and his neighbors described him as unfriendly and standoffish. He sent his girlfriend, Marilou Danley, to the Philippines and wired her $100,000 to buy a house for her family. The Los Angeles Times reported Paddock verbally assaulted Danley in public. Paddock’s own family knew nothing about his true nature. He was also a massive gambler. His brother, Eric, said Paddock played $100 hands of poker regularly.

Paddock also planned this massacre extensively. He slowly acquired his arsenal over time, he modified his semi-automatic rifles with bump stocks to make them behave like automatics and rented a room with a perfect vantage point of the concert several days before the event. He also hid cameras in the hallway and in his peephole.

One would think there would be somesort of change to gun laws after such an evil act. Tragically, most Americans already know that literally nothing will change.

Nothing changed after a mentally disturbed man killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary. Twentyof the deceased were innocent children. Nothing changed after someone on the terror watchlist massacred 49 people at a nightclub in Orlando. Congress did absolutely nothing to help prevent these tragic events, they only made such evil easier to commit.

The Senate blocked a ruling that would have prevented 75,000 people from purchasing a gunon Feb. 15, 2017. Those individuals suffer from schizophrenia and other severe psychotic disorders so badly they have to have others help them with basic tasks.

Senate Republicans rejected a bill that would prevent suspected terrorists from legally buying guns in Dec. 2015. Fifty-four elected officials voted no. Perhaps they thought it would be a good idea for those who are too dangerous to fly on a plane to buy a gun.

Republicans blocked a bill that would have limited magazine size after the Virginia Tech massacre 10 years ago. They also blocked a bill that would have increased background checks after Sandy Hook.

Congress is currently spit ballingwhether to ban bumpstocks. Paddock used bump stocks to convert his semi-automatic rifles into full-auto. It is very unlikely they will be banned.

Why does Congress block no-brainer, common sense gun law changes? The answer is simple. The National Rifle Association bought out their morality.

The NRA spent $3.2 million in the first six months of 2017 lobbying for policies according to Open Secrets, a campaign finance and lobbying watchdog. They spent $3.18 million in all of 2016.

The NRA has lobbied 81 pieces of legislationthis year alone. The three major ones are the Hearing Protection Act of 2017, Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act and a resolution disapproving of the inclusion of Social Security Administration mental health records in the federal background check system. The Hearing Protection Act of 2017 would remove regulations around purchasing a gun silencer. The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act would force states to allow all other state’s concealed carry licenses.

Jimmy Kimmel described this stupidity best on his show the night of Oct. 2.

“Why is that allowed? I don’t know why our so-called leaders continue to allow this to happen,” Kimmel said. “Or a betterquestion. Why do we let themcontinue to allow it to happen? You know what will happen? We will pray for Las Vegas, some of us will get motivated, some of us won’t get motivated, bills will be written andthey will be watered down, they’ll fail, the NRA will smother it all with money and overtime, we will get distracted and move onto the next thing. And then it willhappen again and again.”

“(President Trump) spoke this morning and said he is praying for those that lost their lives…the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, a number of other lawmakers, who won’t do anything about this because the NRA has their balls in a money clip, also sent their thoughts and prayers today. Which is good. They should be praying…for God to forgive them for letting the gun lobby run this country.”

Kimmel also talked about how 90 percent of Democrats and 77 percentof Republicans support background checks at gun shows. Eighty-nine percentof both parties are also in favor ofrestricting gun ownership for the mentally ill.

No one in their right mind would be against these simple, no-brainer gun control laws butsome claim “you can’t regulate evil.”

Kentucky Gov.Matt Bevin is one of those people. “To all those political opportunists who are seizing on the tragedy in Las Vegas to call for more gun regulations…You can’t regulate evil,” Bevin said ina tweet Monday morning.

Saying “you can’t regulate evil” is as obvious as saying that “grass is green” or the “sky is blue.” People with bad intentions will always find away to inflict suffering. It is part of their nature, but we already regulate evil.

State governments have sex offender registries. You can easily lookatallsex offenders around you in seconds. Sex offender registries do not prevent all sexual assaults but it does help prevent them.

Gun control laws will not prevent mass shootings but they will lessen the severity and the frequency.

A common sentiment for some is for banning all guns. That idea is not feasibleon many different levels.

The Second Amendment guarantees all citizens the right to own firearms and protect one’s self. Republicans have pushed the idea that the Democrats and the government are coming for our guns for well over 50 years. No politician will ever try to erase the right to bear arms.

Guns are also vital to rural communities. Hunting is a part of day-to-day life. It is literally ingrained in the DNA of these towns. Hunting provides food for families, controls animal
population and creates income for states. It also goes hand inhand with the oral history of families. To put it into perspective, taking away guns from these communities would be the same as removing half of the culture you love about your city. It utterly destroys it.

Guns are as American as apple pie. Unfortunately, lawmakershave had their morality boughtby the NRA causing a massive abuse of the Second Amendment. Those who are suspected terroristsshould not be able to buy a gun. Those who are plagued by mental illnesses should not be able to buy a gun. We need to vote out every single politician that has taken money from the NRA if we are ever going to see any rational change to the current gun laws.

Because money is the root of all evil, the NRA will never stop buying the morality of politicians. No laws will be made to prevent such horrible evil from occurring again and again. They will continue until we are numb to the pain.

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