Trying to Make Sense of Las Vegas Mass Shooting

[Photo: Getty Images]

Most of us woke up this morning to the horrific news coming out of Las Vegas. The first alert on my phone said "at least 50 dead, more than 200 injured." That was this morning. As of this writing, the numbers are 58 dead, 515 being treated for injuries. It's staggering... and thought to be the biggest mass shooting in US history

We know a little bit about the shooter. His name was Stephen Paddock, and he was a 64-year-old man that lived relatively close by -- in a town called Mesquite, 80 miles northeast. Stephen Paddock's dad had once been on the FBI's Most Wanted List for bank robbery. His brother described it as having been "born on the run." But there was nothing in Stephen Paddock's story to suggest he would do this. His brother Eric says he gambled a lot, and it tended toward high stakes; but otherwise, he was "just a guy." His life seemed... ordinary. His companion was outside the country and is not thought to be involved.  

The Islamic State (ISIS) claims responsibility for the shooting, saying that Paddock converted to Islam several months back; but they didn't provide any evidence, and no one really believes it -- least of all the FBI.

So what happened? What made a seemingly ordinary guy commit such a heinous crime? Nobody knows, and those are the answers authorities will be trying to answer over the next several days, weeks, months. 

People want to call this terrorism, and one who should know something about that is Ariana Grande. One of her concerts suffered a terror attack back in May, killing 23 and injuring about 250. 


This was definitely an act of terrorism, but that doesn't answer why. Was this something in Stephen Paddock's heart? A criminal act or a thrill he'd always wanted to do? Was he always a terrorist at heart? Or did something just go wrong in his mind? Something to make his last act, an act of a terrorist.

Because this act defies all logic. 

Part of me thinks this incident, like the tragedy at Sandy Hook a few years ago, will get Americans talking once again about the state of mental health care in the United States. We'll certainly be talking about guns, and asking why automatic and semi-automatic weapons remain too easy to obtain in this nation. And no matter what you feel about gun control, that discussion is likely to anger you in one way or another. 

One mother of a Sandy Hook victim has already laid the blame at the feet of Congress:


Personally, I'm just sick of it. Tired of the shooting. Tired of the "now's not the time to talk about it" line that we always here after yet another senseless tragedy. Tired of the politics of it all. 

Can't we simply have an adult discussion about this and find a solution? I'm saddened by the fact that this happens so often... so often that I've grown virtually numb to it. This shooting happened today, but another might happen tomorrow. And if not tomorrow, next week or next month. But it keeps happening, and it's time to make it stop. 

CLICK HERE for more photos from the Las Vegas shooting. 



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