Once again, America wakes to a living nightmare authored by a psychopath with an arsenal; a terrible, yet disturbingly familiar, true story, this one replete with the acrid odor of spent gun powder and a phenomenon known in the trigger-finger fraternity as “bump stocks.”
This time the auteur was Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old retired accountant who on Sunday night hunkered down in his posh, 32nd floor suite at the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino in Las Vegas, and proceeded to unleash hell in the form of thousands of rounds on a crowd enjoying a country music concert at a nearby venue.
The result: at least 59 dead and more than 500 wounded. The worst mass-shooting in American history.
And when you try to calculate the amount of such tragedies this country has endured, even in recent memory, you’ll quickly grasp the gravity of Paddock’s ignominious “achievement.”
While perspective may be difficult to find in the days and weeks following such a horrific event, we certainly appreciated the clear-headed, intelligent observations of two late-night television hosts.
“There are a lot of things we can do about it. But we don’t, which is interesting,” said Jimmy Kimmel, whose family moved to Las Vegas from Brooklyn when he was young. “Because when someone with a beard attacks us, we tap phones, we invoke travel bans, we build walls, we take every possible precaution to make sure it doesn’t happen again. But when an American buys a gun and kills other Americans, then there’s nothing we can do about that. And the Second Amendment, I guess, our forefathers wanted us to have AK-47s is the argument, I assume…Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, a number of other lawmakers who won’t do anything about this because the [National Rifle Association] has their balls in a money clip, also sent their thoughts and their prayers today — which is good. They should be praying. They should be praying for God to forgive them for letting the gun lobby run this country.”
And Conan O’Brien commented on the moment he realized that these types of catastrophes have become commonplace in our country. According to the New York Daily News, when the TBS funnyman walked into his office on Monday, a writer handed him remarks he gave after the Sandy Hook massacre and the Pulse nightclub carnage in order for him to prepare what he would say in the wake of the Las Vegas incident.
“How could there be a file of mass shooting remarks for a late-night host?” he asked. “When did that become normal? When did this become a ritual? And what does it say about us that it has?… The sounds of those automatic weapons last night are grotesquely out of place in a civilized society. It makes no sense to me as a reasonable human being and a father. Something needs to change.”
Yes, something desperately needs to change Mr. O’Brien. However, we all know that nothing will. Everyone, from celebrities to elected officials to John Q. Public, will offer condolences, thoughts, and prayers for the victims and their families.
And life will go on. No laws will change. Just give it a couple of weeks—if that. We will proceed as if nothing happened…until the next nutjob with an abnormal arsenal decides on the coward’s exit, and takes a few dozen innocent people with him.


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