Let’s Talk About Vegas

10 minutes can change your life. 10 minutes can seem like a lifetime when the circumstances are right. 10 minutes during this past weekend was the most terrifying, and chaotic 10 minutes that thousands of people at the Route 91 music festival had ever lived through.

During these 10 minutes, Stephen Paddock killed 58 people, while injuring nearly 500 and shooting at thousands at the Las Vegas venue. He has been identified as the gunman in the most deadly mass shooting in U.S. history.

Now, I am not here to explain the gruesome and specific details of the event. I am not going to tell you how many weapons there were, how many shots in total were fired, or try to conjure up some sort of motive to the attack. I am here to bring recognition to the fact that murder is trending.

June 12th, 2016, Orlando, Florida: 49 fatalities. Labelled as the deadliest mass murder in history.

December 14th, 2012, Newtown, Connecticut: A gunman forces himself into Sandy Hook Elementary School and murders 20 first grade students alongside 6 adults.

July 20th, 2012, Aurora, Colorado: A gunman enters a screening of Batman, “The Dark Knight Rises” at the Century 16 movie theatre and kills 12 people.

Are we seeing the pattern here? I merely Googled a list of mass murders that have occurred during this century, and the length of the list that showed up truly terrified me.

There were numerous attacks that I never heard of, alongside this brief list of relatively infamous attacks that the media centered on. There have been so many lives that have been stolen from this earth that did not receive the justice of having their story told.

As I cannot thoroughly explain each of these cases, I have included a link to all of the mass murders in the past 30 years that you can check out if you want to understand the extent of my previous statement that “murder is trending”: US Mass Shootings, 1982-2017: Data From Mother Jones’ Investigation

What can we do?

So, now that I am sure I have left you feeling utterly optimistic and at peace with the world, let me tell you what to do now.

I understand that in Canada we have a different set of laws governing our country, and the same gun laws in the United States do not apply to us. For this reason I am not going to try to advocate to change gun laws and regulations, nor am I not going to tell you to practice safe gun use, as I’m sure the vast majority of students do not have a rifle hidden away in their dorm room closets. What I am going to do though, is tell you this:

1. Educate yourselves. Do research. Learn about the atrocities that are occurring in our world. Although we may not be able to physically invoke much change, and we are not going to imminently bring an end to terrorism attacks, by being informed and passionate students and members of society we will be able to advocate reasons to change this terrifying trend and spread the word to others. Eventually, enough momentum of a want for change will gain attention.

2. Encourage media spread in regards to events such as these killings where the lack of coverage is leading to a lack of justice that the victims deserve. Although with this being said, too much media coverage may lead to the killer receiving fame or notoriety, so a fine line needs to be drawn in regards to how news is delivered. Bring justice without bringing attention to the killer.

3. If you are truly passionate, there are advocacy groups that you can join, alongside numbers you can call to share your thoughts on possible reforming of gun laws and regulations. If you prefer to take a less direct approach, signing a petition in regards to current thoughts on gun reform may be a place to start (although as a Canadian citizen, I am not 100% sure about the validity of doing so). An example of one of these petitions is that a current reform in the United States wants to allow the purchase of gun silencers without a background check. If you would like to to get your voice out there and try to stop this law from passing, text SILENCERS to 644-33.

With the recent tragedy of Las Vegas still in the back of our minds, I hope that students and any others who read this will understand their personal responsibility to this cause and do what they can to stay informed and stay aware.

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