At least 58 people are killed and 527 injured in a shooting in Las Vegas

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FOR the past four years, country-music fans have gathered on a 15-acre lot across from the Mandalay Bay Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip for the Route 91 music festival. On October 1st Jason Aldean, a honey-voiced singer from central Georgia, was closing out the festival when a shooter opened fire on the crowd from the 32nd storey of the hotel. Social-media videos showed revellers ducking, hiding and running from bursts of automatic-weapon fire.

The horrific event lasted just a couple of hours: Las Vegas police received their first report of gunfire at 10.08pm; shortly before midnight police announced that their sole suspect was dead; he is believed to have committed suicide. The suspect was Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old resident of Mesquite, Nevada, a small town about 80 miles north-east of Las Vegas, on the Nevada-Arizona border.

Joe Lombardo, sheriff of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, said the shooting was the act of “a solo actor…a lone wolf”. Police found a number of guns in Mr Paddock’s hotel room. He appears to have killed at least 58 people and wounded at least 527, making this the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.

American politicians routinely warn against “politicising” mass shootings. Although they take to the airwaves to discuss airline safety in the wake of a plane crash or security measures after a terrorist attack, discussing gun laws after a lunatic shoots scores of people to death—asking whether, perhaps, the ease of obtaining weapons in America might have something to do with the frequency with which mass murderers kill people with firearms—is understood to somehow be in bad taste. So let’s not mention the massacres at Port Arthur and Dunblane, which prompted Australia and Britain to pass more restrictive gun laws that dramatically reduced the risk of dying by gunshot in both countries.

This week the House of Representatives could pass the “Hearing Protection Act”, which rolls back restrictions on gun silencers. It was supposed to be taken up in June, but was postponed after a gunman opened fire on a congressional softball game. Separate legislation in the House would allow holders of concealed-carry permits to carry their weapons in other states with more restrictive licensing—effectively gutting state-level concealment restrictions. As Barack Obama said after a married couple slaughtered 14 people in San Bernardino, California with legally bought guns, “We’ve become numb to this…This is a political choice we make to allow this to happen every few months in America.”

Update (October 3rd, 12.30pm London time): This piece has been amended to reflect an increase in the number of those killed and wounded.

Correction (October 5th, 10am London time): The headline figure has been revised down from 59 to 58 to exclude the shooter. 

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A free thinker, not labelled as anything, not associated with any party, not part of any group or engaged with any religion... A simple guy tired of the nowadays bullshit who decided to promote more serious debates about what is really happening hoping to bring back intelligence to the superficial and shallow news & headlines that unfortunately took over the existing media scene.
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