By Mackenzie Pedersen, Staff Writer
A devastated, daunting silence has fallen over America as of the 1st of October.
Upon waking up that morning, no one expected such tragedy. This day will go down in infamy as one of the most traumatic days in history. This unfortunate event now holds the record of the deadliest mass shooting in American history with 58 victims pronounced deceased, over 500 injured, a nation heart-broken, and too many unanswered questions to count; one being: what’s going to happen now?
Las Vegas is known for the carefree, sin city, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” appeal. It offered a break from a person’s day to day reality; people could go to Las Vegas and enjoy the pleasures of life without a care in the world, whether they indulged in gambling, entered the several gentlemen’s clubs or nightclubs, or drank the many available alcoholic beverages, among other things. Moreover, Las Vegas also offered other forms of entertainment of the less sinful variety, such as David Copperfield magic shows, Blue Men Group music performances, various versions of Cirque du Soleil acrobatic spectacles, and, of course, a plethora of concerts featuring big name artists like Brittney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Cher, and many, many others.
Over the years, R&R Partners, the advertising agency that developed the slogan, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” have been trying to create a new slogan but has never succeeded because the original has always been so popular. However, in light of the recent tragedy, R&R Partners feel as though advertising in a such a carefree way would only cause harm and has thus developed a new marketing strategy that ties into social media: #VegasStrong. As for the many performances scheduled in Las Vegas, many of the top artists who regularly perform in Vegas are so shaken by this recent atrocity that they have cancelled some of their upcoming performances.
So what does this mean for Vegas tourism? Are people going to avoid Las Vegas all together for the foreseeable future? Sean Snaith, an economics professor at the University of Central Florida who spoke with the Las Vegas Review Journal suggests not: “This is a horrific tragedy, but this is not a regular occurrence that would come to define the destination.”
Additionally, we can look back on previous mass shootings and determine that the general public will continue to vacation in Las Vegas. Take for instance, the Dark Knight Rises movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado or the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, which had 49 casualties and was previously considered the nation’s deadliest mass shooting. Each incident was horrifying and led to excess heartbreak, yet the number of people who attend midnight-movie showings and enjoy an evening at the Pulse nightclub has shown little fluctuation. Moreover, an intensive legislative debate regarding gun control, usually led by Democrats, regularly occurs after such tragic events.
One of the first reactions on the Monday morning following the unimagined horror was a tweet by Senator Elizabeth Warren:
“Thoughts & prayers are NOT enough. Not when more moms & dads will bury kids this week, & more sons & daughters will grow up without parents.”
However, this reaction is not new from Democratic representatives. According to the NPR’s article After Mass Shootings, Action On Gun Legislation Soars At State Level, published shortly after the Orlando Club shooting in 2016:
“The researchers looked at legislation that was proposed following mass shooting events between 1990 and 2014, and their research found two major things: mass shootings do increase the amount of gun-related bills that get proposed and passed; the nature of that legislation — whether it tightens or loosens gun laws — depends on the dominant political party and ideology of the state.”
And this has been seen time and time again. Following the mass shooting of the Orlando nightclub attack, Democrats orchestrated a 26-hour sit-in to protest the majority of Rublican’s refusal to change gun laws.
While many of the previous gun control bills that have been proposed to Congress have been shot down, the days following the incident, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) -the primary advocate for many of the previously proposed gun laws- has refined some of the previous bills to propose a bill that would specifically ban ‘bump stocks.’ These are devices that citizens can purchase online at a relatively low cost that cause semiautomatic weapons fire similarly to automatic weapons (according to Some in GOP open to discussing Democrats’ proposal to ban device used in Las Vegas attack). She claims that this bill provides focus, is void of loopholes, and has been stated in plain English. Not only is this a chance to get a foot in the door on the issue, but it is also a reaction to the fact that 23 of the weapons that Stephen Paddock possessed, legally, were semi-automatic weapons that were modified with these bump stocks. Some Republicans have announced their steadfastness on the subject of gun control, while others are open to the discussion of bump stocks.
The argument that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” often holds merit in the debate over gun control. While the real problem may revolve around finding a better way to deter the types of people who conduct these atrocities, research regarding murder and suicide suggests that providing barriers (such as lengthy background checks and limits to the types of weapons that can be bought) can reduce the number of killings due to the fact that more often than not, these incidents are spontaneous and unplanned, according to the article After the massacre in Las Vegas, nothing is set to change. This suggests that while gun control laws may not be the end-all be-all answer, they can, at the very least, provide an obstacle.
Unfortunately, only time will tell what’s next. Hopefully, with that time, the wounds and heartache will heal.