Justin Kim /Palos Verdes Peninsula High School 11th grade
On Sunday, October 1, a lone white gunman named Stephen Paddock instigated the largest mass shooting in modern US history. Paddock opened fire at a crowd of 30,000 people from the 91 Harvest festival on the Las Vegas Strip, killing 58 people and injuring 489 more. He took position in the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, and had in his possession 23 firearms which were all legally obtained, along with long range scopes, explosives, and semi-automatic weapons. Paddock’s position gave him a clear line of sight to tens of thousands of innocent people and gave them no chance to fire back or hide. Paddock had in his possession firearms that were most commonly used on the battlefield, not in crimes, and furthermore, he had enough firepower to continue shooting for hours.
This was a clearly an act of terrorism. However, multiple news stations refused to use the word “terrorist” when describing Paddock. Instead, Paddock was often referred to as “deranged” and “mentally unstable” without ever once being labeled as a terrorist. If an African American or Muslim had committed such a horrendous crime however, they would have instantly been targeted and labeled as a terrorist. News stations today continue to protect white Americans rather than reporting them as harshly as they portray other races. One news station even described “no suspicious activity” from Paddock leading up to the terrifying mass shooting, and then ironically went on to report that Paddock had purchased 33 guns in the last 12 months. The difference in the way that media portrays African Americans and white Americans has become clearer than ever, as African Americans continue to be unjustly viewed. This racism must come to an end with the start of fair and equal media.
Along with the topic of equality in news reports however, the topic of gun control also arises again. If Paddock could legally purchase 33 guns and commit such a crime, who’s to stop anyone else from doing so? Many Americans are crying for a ban on firearms, whereas other Americans fight for their right to carry a firearm in order to protect themselves. However, in the case of the Las Vegas shooting, what good does a pistol do when a shooter is on the 32nd floor? The debate on firearms has been discussed heavily in past years, but the topic is now more pressing than ever.
<Justin Kim /Palos Verdes Peninsula High School 11th gra