On October 1, 2017, another mass shooting occurred in the United States, this time in Las Vegas, Nevada. In what is considered the worst modern shooting, gunman Stephen Paddock fired at people celebrating the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival. From the relative safety of the 32nd story of the Mandalay Bay Resort, Paddock fired to the ground below and killed at least 60 innocent people just trying to celebrate what was supposed to be a fun night.
The body count is still being tallied, the wounded tended to, and the police are still trying to work out Paddock’s motives, yet aspiring internet web sleuths are already penning articles and diatribes online about the alleged motives of the 64 year old gunman. Already, we have various articles blaming everything from patriarchy, white supremacy, Islamic State and Trump’s America for Paddock’s vicious, horrifying attack.
This is a problem not only with America’s gun violence epidemic. Bodies barely have a chance to rest peacefully before Internet Investigators question everything to do with their lives. Respect the dead? Well, Hugh Hefner had been reported dead barely twelve hours before news sites were publishing how he was an over hyped pimp, an insult to feminism, and how he perpetuated a mass objectification of his Playboy Bunnies.
We should be focusing on the victims of the Las Vegas Strip Shooting instead of immediately jumping on our political bandwagons and politicizing everything to the high seas. At least 60 people have died, with over 500 injured, and our attention should be on helping these people. Many have lost loved ones in this tragedy, and the survivors will be dealing with their injuries and likely PTSD which will continue long after we’ve stopped the “thoughts and prayers” and moved on to the next national tragedy.
Of course we must learn about the motives of Stephen Paddock, but too many are theorizing and attempting to politicize it so Paddock’s motives fit to their political narrative. Social justice warriors are already publishing pieces on how white male privilege is to blame, despite many white people and men dying in this tragedy—where is their white privilege? Others are already blaming Donald Trump, saying this is just part and parcel of Trump’s America, despite including statistics and shooters from before Trump’s America—such as Dylann Roof (Barack Obama) and Timothy McVeigh (Bill Clinton). Don’t believe it?:
The Right-wingers are not exempt from this political fear-mongering. Perpetual angry man Paul Joseph Watson is already claiming it’s an attack on Republicans and that Islamic State’s claim of responsibility for the attack should be taken seriously. Many are passing rumors that Paddock was an anti-Trump protestor and had links to terrorist groups. Sites like 4chan have analyzed seemingly every Stephen Paddock in the country, with many reporting innocents as the alleged shooter.
Meanwhile the pro-gun/anti-gun debate has sparked up again, with Hillary Clinton being one of the first to launch into a Tweet-rant about how we must not politicize these events, while also vehemently criticizing the NRA. Many on social media are calling for this event as definitive proof guns should be banned, and dye-in-the-wool Republicans and NRA members are freaking out, hence leading to more stockpiling of guns. It’s just an endless cycle of two sides shouting at each other, and it’s obvious guns won’t be banned in the United States, so why bother?
What we must do is wait for more information on Stephen Paddock’s motives, instead of just jumping to conclusions. With time, that will come, and maybe then we can have a discussion (and solutions) on just why this horrifying event happened. Until then, we must focus on the victims, who people are ignoring in lieu of just ranting about how their political enemies are to blame for the attacks.
At the moment, there is much misinformation being spread around. Verified news sites and conspiracy bloggers alike are positing every theory possible about Paddock’s motives.
First, think of the victims. Give them your attention, and if you live close to the area, give them actual support. Of course we must work out why Paddock committed the heinous crime he did, but wait for the authorities to analyze his motives more thoroughly. It’s unlikely, but perhaps there was no political motive. However, you needn’t immediately rush to scream your choice of buzzwords to blame everything except the real problem: Stephen Paddock is the problem. Just give the victims and their families a chance to grieve before you go pooping on their lives just for clicks and attention. For once, political obsessives, this isn’t about you.