By Promod Puri
Let me first position myself as if I were present at the Las Vegas country music show on the night of October 1st. Although, I am not a concert-going enthusiast, but I could join with the joyous music lovers attending the Route 91 musical festival. It was like a celebration, and when the crowd heard some “fireworks”, they thought it was part of the event. No, it was not. Perched up at the adjacent Mandalay Bay Hotel, a “lone-wolf”, Stephen Paddock, from his room window started shooting indiscriminately down the concert crowd of over 22,000 people. Within few minutes an enjoyable and peaceful music festival turned into a chaotic scene of bloody carnage. They say it was the deadliest domestic massacre in the on-going mass shooting incidents in the U.S.A. The maniac before fatally shooting himself, pumped hundreds of bullets killing at least 59 fans, and hurting over 500 of them. I am hurt too.
In visualising the pathetic scene, I am hurt with empathetic feelings along with people all over the world. The vintage position of the insane gunman from the 32nd floor of the hotel entirely covered his widespread target. The musical retreat rolled into the gunman’s trap. The concertgoers could neither run for safety nor lie down. It was a stampede with hardly any escape. Only luck could save the attendees from being either shot dead or injured.
My hurt feelings have turned into anger and puzzles. What is going on in the United States of America? That too happening more frequently. Within a span of a year or so mass killings thru random shootings happened in Charleston, San Bernardino, Orlando, and now in Las Vegas. And who knows the next gunning could be in any city across the border where hundreds of Canadians, including myself, my family, and friends, frequently do their day trips.
The question most Canadians ask: “is it safe to go to the USA”. Mass shooting can happen anytime, in any incoherent places or neighbourhoods in the country. The authorities in Washington do not issue travel advisory for their own country. The US does show its concern and safety for all the humanity from possible nuclear charge by “rogue regimes” of North Korea or Iran. But does it care about the safety and lives of its own citizens and thousands of visitors from the foray of made-in-America terrorism?
I am mad at the madness of the psychotic killers. And my madness is supplemented by the inaction of all those Congressmen and women, and rest of the US lawmakers. They are quick in sending condolence messages and offering prayers for the victims. But enact no effective laws and restrictions to tackle gun violence. The US police forces are ineffective to police their rogue citizens, while its armed forces are engaged worldwide in policing the world.
“Whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”, but not anymore.
The world saw another tragedy in the USA, this time on the Strip. It will remain top “breaking” news with extensive coverage for some time. The newscasting is laced with same old debates and arguments which are squeezed and distilled with comprehensive analyses, expertise, and data. But no action. Things cool down after a while. The issue subsides in few days or weeks.
But a bloody rampage can develop again under the shadow of “gun culture”, proudly protected by the Second Amendment. While a leading gun lobbyist advocates “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”.
God save America, and those visiting America.