It would be all too easy in this moment of what should be national mourning to politicize the recent tragedy in Las Vegas. In fact that is what many are already doing, as can be seen by the fact the number one trending hashtag on twitter currently is #GunControlNow. I openly admit even that I considered writing a lengthy breakdown myself of just why increased gun control laws would have done nothing to stop this recent attack. It’s something I still might do down the line, but now is not the time for that. That’s not the type of talk America needs right now. We don’t need First Amendment supporters making comparisons to the effectiveness of drug control laws anymore then we need Leftists arguing that all NRA members are somehow complicit to this crime. What we do need, is to all take a step back together, let the facts emerge, and unify under something that at least in theory we should all be able to agree on. That this was a terrible act of violence which should be condemned in the strongest of ways, and that for a moment at least we all stand together in our mourning for the victims of this senseless act.
These tragedies have become so common place in our culture, we sadly seem desensitized to the true horror of them. So easily ready to put the human life lost behind us, and move on to the political profiteering to be had in the aftermath. But the bodies on the ground are more than just fresh political talking points. They are real people just like us, whose lives have been violently and unexpectedly cut short. Which is something that deserves more than just a moments mourning and reflection. Early reports indicate this will be the bloodiest mass shooting in U.S. history, surpassing even the attack just last year at the Gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando. With that in mind, our culture truly is rotten if we let an incident like this be viewed solely in a winner/loser oriented political perspective.
In these moments of insecurity, where even a motive has not yet been made clear, it’s hard to not take comfort in our political ideologies. To follow that natural collectivist urge within us, to seek a feeling of security by banding with our political brothers in arms, and trying to make a stand. But this isn’t a moment for factions. In fact in a nation who can’t even agree on things like football anymore, maybe it’s all the more important that in aftermath to an event like this we put the whole concepts of teams aside, and just come together as American’s. American’s sharing a country, and all united in our horror at the events that have occurred in an iconic American city.
One only need take a moments glance online to get the feeling most people are just hoping that when a motive is revealed, it’s one that looks good for their “team” and looks bad for the other guy. That attitude though is a toxic one that should be looked down upon by decent people from all backgrounds. Right now, with hundreds still in the hospital and quite possibly at least a few more deaths still to come. Who cares if the shooter was a redneck white supremacist, or a radicalized Muslim? There will be time for those discussions later. Quite possibly even, we might all in this case be facing the far more unpleasant reality. That this man Stephen Paddock, played for no team at all. That sometimes evil people just do evil things. If that is indeed the case, it will be a hard pill to swallow for an American people so seemingly obsessed with an us or them narrative. Sometimes people do the unimaginable for reasons that will remain unfathomable to the rest of us. If that is the case, it’s only all the more important we don’t try and force our political perspectives on this attack, because it is an argument neither side will ever win.
So if you are like me, and disgusted by this senseless loss of human life. I ask that you take at least a few days to simply just let yourself be saddened by those now dead in Vegas. This event is surely to be discussed for quite some time to come, so there will plenty of opportunity still to join in on the debates raging online over gun control and every other possible related issue. But if everyone instantly gives in to these factionalized urges, we will have a sad reality where no one outside the immediate family of the dead is actually wasting more than a moment’s thought over the departed. Everyone else seemingly too caught up in twisting yet another tragedy into something they can argue with strangers about online.