US leaders must show will after latest massacre
Las Vegas slaughter joins a line of atrocities and one has to wonder how many more killings are needed before action is finally taken on gun ownership
The description has been used again and again: the worst mass shooting in recent US history. This time it was in Las Vegas, the victims were at a country music concert and the attacker was a wealthy white man firing from a suite on the 32nd floor of a nearby hotel. President Donald Trump and other officials have given their condolences and spoken of their sadness and the debate on gun control has been rekindled. But the cycle after such tragedies is depressingly familiar and, more than likely, the discussion will quickly die down and resurface again only after the next killer sets another record.
A link to international terrorism has been ruled out and familiar questions are being asked.
What drove the killer to carry out so heinous a crime? How did he come to have so many weapons, military assault rifles among them, and so much ammunition? Could his actions have been prevented by someone spotting telltale signs of behaviour in the days leading up to the shooting? Investigators may have some answers, but others may never be known.
Trump made no mention of gun control when addressing the nation about what he called “an act of pure evil”. He was more than likely mindful of the powerful gun lobby that helped put him in office. It has therefore been up to liberal-minded politicians and the victims and families of shootings to seek action and wonder how many more massacres are needed before the weapons that take so many lives are restricted or banned. Shockingly, lawmakers did nothing after the deaths of 49 nightclubbers in Florida last year, 32 students and staff at Virginia Tech in 2007 or 27 children and teachers at Sandy Hook school in Connecticut in 2012.
The numbers are getting bigger, but these incidents are only headline-grabbers; scant mention is made nationwide of the 90 or so Americans who die of gunshot wounds every day. More have been killed since 1970 than in every war the US has ever been involved in.
Yet the common-sense regulations that other countries have on gun ownership and the types of weapons that can be obtained remain absent. Until there is the will from leaders and politicians, the numbers will just keep growing.