Americans are still in shock from the tragic shooting outside the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. According to CNN, at least 58 are reported dead and 515 have been injured in what has now been classified as the biggest mass shooting in modern American history.
In a time when solidarity is called for, some from the public sphere are using this event to score political points. As seen on Twitter, comedian Patton Oswalt took to Twitter at 3:00 am to mock Trump’s anticipated response to the Las Vegas shooting.
Oswalt wrote: “‘I know the Vegas situation is grim but let’s wait to hear Trump’s statement he’ll make it all better’–a concussion victim.” The comedian’s remark seemed to imply that the President’s condolences are of little help to the victims of the attack.
But Oswalt does not say what the President could do to ease the situation of the Las Vegas community. As the Daily Caller notes, the suspected killer, Stephen Paddock, was found dead on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay resort, from where it is believed he fired down on the crowd of 22,000 country music concert goers.
Local authorities are handling the public and attending to the wounded. The Department of Homeland Security has stated: “At this time, we have no information to indicate a specific credible threat involving other public venues in the country.”
The shooting was a horrific crime that appears concluded beyond the continuing medical treatment needed by the over 515 people hit by gunfire. In light of the situation, President Trump issued the following statement on Twitter:
“My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!” The President’s tweet was free of speculation as to the killer’s associations or possible motivations.
Interestingly, Oswalt soon deleted his 3:00 am tweet, which is no longer available on Twitter. However, just minutes before his own tweet, Oswalt retweeted a comment by a user named Franklin Leonard, who wrote on Twitter:
“Whatever the circumstances in
#LasVegas, I’m already dreading the Trump response, which is terrifying.” Shortly after news of the shooting became public, the hashtags #GunControlNow and #GunControl began trending on Twitter. However, police have not yet revealed the type of firearms involved in the massacre or how they were obtained. They have only stated that 10 firearms were found in Paddock’s hotel room.
As seen in video footage of the incident posted to Twitter, the bursts fired upon the crowd go on for as long as ten seconds at a time. This suggests the shooter used a fully automatic weapon, as opposed to the semi-automatic rifles that have often been the target of scrutiny by gun control advocates. Although such activists often use the term “assault weapon” to describe semi-automatic arms, the term can be misleading.
— Luke Broadlick (@LukeBroadlick) October 2, 2017
As the Fire Arms Guide notes, “semi-automatic” simply means the weapon performs reload functions automatically, separating it from “bolt-action” rifles that are manually reloaded after discharge. While many semi-automatic rifles are aesthetically designed to have the appearance of military weapons, they do not fire continuously like a “machine gun.”
Patton Oswalt is more concerned about bashing President Trump than he is about the Las Vegas shooting victims. Should he apologize?
Gun control proponents are now pointing to Nevada laws that make automatic weapons legal, as seen at Newsweek. Automatic weapons are legal in most states, but due to restrictive federal legislation, they are banned except for a specific exemption. Civilians can purchase only those automatic firearms manufactured before 1986, however, the limited quantity of legal “machine guns” available for purchase are difficult to come by and extremely expensive–far out of reach for most people. Trading these weapons still requires an expensive federal license that is difficult to obtain.
It’s possible the Las Vegas shooter may have obtained an automatic firearm illegally. However, in that case, it would be unclear how tighter gun control could have prevented the massacre.