How Many Massacres is Too Many?

As we’ve watched the tragedy unfold in Las Vegas this weekend I’ve wondered; how many massacres is too many? My cousin was in the theatre in Aurora, Colorado in 2012 when a shooter with an automatic weapon entered through the Exit door and started firing his gun indiscriminately. She hit the ground, then ran for the exit when the gunman stopped to reload his weapon. But she turned around to attempt to rescue the youngest victim, Veronica Moser-Sullivan, who had been separated from her mom and was calling out for her in vain. Her mom was in the next aisle on the floor, dead.

By the time my cousin reached the child, she had been shot. She watched her fall. My cousin said she still has nightmares of the girl lying there, as her eyes rolled back in her head. And my 19-year-old cousin, also a young mother, felt helpless remorse and anger. At the same time, she was determined to not be the shooter’s next victim. So when he turned his back, she made her escape.

The disastrous tragedy that transpired this weekend in Las Vegas was far worse, with the most victims in this country ever claimed by a mass shooter. The Las Vegas gunman had  a small arsenal of automatic rifles. One was trained on thousands of innocent concert goers 32 floors below his perch in his room in the Mandalay Bay Resort. With the weapons he had and the proximity of the individuals in the crowd, there was no need to be a marksman. So dozens of people were murdered en masse. Hundreds more were injured as the shootings continued for about fifteen minutes.

All of the weapons in the shooter’s arsenal were purchased legally. This was not a horrendous tragedy perpetrated by terrorists. There is still speculation as to why the shooter did what he did. But, for me, the bigger question is how many times this country has to experience such massacres before we take automatic weapons out of the hands of civilians? NRA be damned! What can you do with military weaponry as a civilian? Go hunting?

 

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