I read and watch and listen to a lot of mystery, police procedural and spy story fiction. No reality-tv or true crime for me.
If today were the beginning of one of my books, I would bet money that the retired accountant who was found dead, surrounded by a pile of guns in the hotel room where the shooting took place was a dupe. Not the real shooter. Instead, he would be the victim of a vast conspiracy of unknown masterminds who had their own unknown reasons for wanting to stage a massacre. And the rest of the book would be the story of the rogue male detective who forms an unlikely alliance with a by-the-book (but very attractive) female FBI agent and how they discover the truth behind the massacre.
But this is not a book or a movie. This really happened. And it really does appear that one man armed with a weapon took the lives of over 50 people and injure more than 500 others. A gun powerful enough to allow a solitary soul to slaughter all those people.
There’s no hiding from the fact that guns are at the heart of this massacre. This was a white guy shooting at the whitest people you can find–country music fans. Racism, homophobia, xenophobia can’t be blamed. Anti-American or anti-christian sentiment aren’t in play either. The home-grown terrorist had no criminal records, so better background checks are not answer. The shooter did not have history of mental health issues, so cries for better mental health care can’t be used to drown out the demands for better gun laws.
It’s the guns, people. It’s the easy access to guns with power far greater than anyone needs to shoot a dear or protect a home from an intruder.
Since the shooting of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School didn’t prompt tougher gun laws, I don’t hold much hope that Las Vegas will change anything either. Except…except that, right now, Las Vegas has no excuses. There are no -isms or hate groups to blame. There are no societal problems to throw money at…except for the gun problem.
As we mourn the loss and destruction of so many lives, we cannot continue to allow the gun lobby to run roughshod over our citizenry. Too many lives have been lost. Too many lives will be lost. This is the time to stop the excuses, because there are none to be made in this tragedy.