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The final word

The final word

The final word
October 12
14:37 2017

Jesus Sánchez Meleán

Eight days have passed since the massacre that took place in Las Vegas and we are all still in the search for the reason that took Stephen Paddock to commit this atrocity. Kevin McMahil, police chief in charge of the investigation said that “we all want answers,” and we are “literally examining everything, including his personal life, political affiliations, social behaviors, financial situation, and any potential radicalization that some have attributed to him.”

The chief of police can’t explain the reason that took Paddock to finish the life of 58 people and to wound almost another 500. McMahill explained that, in other massacres, it had been possible to figure out a motive. They either left notes, or published information on their social media pages that lead to a reason why they took other people’s lives as well as their own. Paddock left a note, but it was not a suicide note; it wasn’t an explanation either.

McMahill is certain about one thing. He affirmed that the 64-year-old retiree that shot from the window of the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas has no ties to the jihadist group ISIS. Investigators didn’t get caught in the intention of ISIS of getting publicity with the Las Vegas massacre. Paddock didn’t accumulate 47 guns and 22 kilograms of explosives to promote ISIS’ agenda. Those are good news.

We will have to wait for answers from a psychiatrist to understand the reasons Paddock had. Mental health experts are the ones who explained the actions by those who perpetrated the massacres in the Aurora cinema; the Sandy Hook school in Connecticut; and the night club in Orlando. Those specialists are the ones to explain the more than 273 massacres, or incidents with 4 or more deaths, that have taken place in the U.S. in 2017.

However, those specialists don’t have the final word on these events. They talk after the tragedies take place. Meanwhile, there are others that can take actions to prevent these massacres to continue to happen. At this point, the questions need to be directed to the National Rifle Association (NRA), the largest group opposing gun control. After the Las Vegas massacre, the NRA seems to accept that there must be some form of regulation on the sale of guns. That is surprising.

The NRA specifically referred to the gadgets that allow the guns to fire more rounds faster. With these devices, the “bump stocks”, Paddock shot 9 bullets per second from the window of the Mandalay Bay. He converted 12 semi-automatic rifles into automatic machine guns. The paradox here is that automatic guns are illegal in the U.S. But the “bump stocks” can be freely acquired because they are legal since 2010.

This incident shows the power the NRA has. It was enough for Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox, NRA spokespersons, to support the regulation on the sale of “bump stocks” for president Trump and Republican leaders in Congress to change their minds and be willing to talk about restrictions to the right to bear arms. It could be said that the president and Republican Congressmen have common goals and that explains how they move in the same direction.

They all believe in the Second Amendment and they want to prevent the weakening in any way of the right to bear arms. In a sense, they are upholding the constitution, that is true. But I am afraid there is more to it. NRA and their members are some of the biggest donors to their political campaigns, and it is obvious that these lawmakers would not act in opposition to the interests of those who help them get elected. Now we know who has the final word in gun control.

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Edición Virtual | #319 | 16 de agosto 2018

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