By Mike Wilcox
Like many of us, I have been glued to the television watching in horror as the death and injury count mounts in the latest massacre of Americans. As I write this, 59 are counted dead and more than 500 were injured as they attended a country music outdoor concert in Las Vegas.
I don’t know what to write or think. I’m emotionally drained. I’m worried sick about my son’s and our country’s future. I’m befuddled because I want to help make this world a better place in which to live, but don’t know how that can be accomplished.
In earlier times we could write off the Las Vegas concert killings as an isolated incident. Not now, however. Newsweek magazine claims there have been more mass killings in America in 2017 than days of the year through Sept. 1. A mass killing, according to Newsweek, is defined as an incident where four or more people are involved.
I find that statistic unbelievable. Has our country really become the next “killing field,” much like Iraq, Syria or Afghanistan, where crazies point a gun and shoot innocent bystanders without remorse?
The Las Vegas incident was unusual in that it wasn’t an act of terror. It was committed by a 64-year-old Caucasian who had no criminal history beyond a parking ticket. He was a retired accountant who had become wealthy through land investments and gambling, and as far as family and neighbors can recall, had no axe to grind with anything. He was by all accounts normal and lived a comfortable life.
What would bring a normal, retired dude to plan such a horrible act? This is not a situation where the guy snapped and went on a shooting spree. No, he planned this for months. He checked in to the Mandalay Bay Hotel four days before he committed the crime spree. He somehow was able to get 23 weapons and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition into his 32nd-floor hotel room.
Although ISIS claims the shooter was radicalized and committed the crime on their behalf, nothing indicates this was a terrorist act. It was simply some random guy deciding to become famous by committing the most-heinous crime in American history.
That’s where the problem lies. If this random white guy, on no watch list nor having been convicted of a crime, can commit this act, how in the world can our protectors stop others of the same ilk?
This wasn’t a Marilyn Manson concert; it was a country concert featuring family-comfortable acts such as Jason Aldean and Big and Rich. Who would think chaos would evolve from this? It just goes to show we don’t know where a mass shooter might strike. We can’t predict, but we can be more diligent.
How was this guy able to get all those guns and ammo up to his 32nd-floor suite without security guards looking at his bags?
I’ve stayed in Vegas too many times to count. Typically, if you are taking an elevator to a higher floor, security guards check your stash, particularly at night. The Mandalay Bay is one of the strip’s pricier hotels; I would think guards there would be even more diligent. Apparently I am wrong, because this killer got by them several times.
Must our lifestyles change? Will outdoor venues become nonexistent? Will musical concerts stop? Three of the latest and most horrific mass killings have been at a Ariana Grande concert, an Orlando nightclub and now this.
So many questions. I pray we can find the answers and the mass killings stop. This is America, home of the free and land of the brave.