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The Six Hours that Changed America

Photo+Courtesy+of%3A+www.en.wikipedia.org
Photo Courtesy of: www.en.wikipedia.org

Photo Courtesy of: www.en.wikipedia.org

Photo Courtesy of: www.en.wikipedia.org

Mallory Swope, EMS Press Staff

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Sunday, October 1, a day that may have changed America. More than 20,000 people are gathered for a country music festival on the main strip of Las Vegas. Following the performances of Eric Church and Sam Hunt, Jason Aldean takes the stage around 10 p.m.. Minutes later, several explosions rung out. Many concert-goers shrugged them off dismissively, thinking they were just fireworks in the distance. But then, many more of these explosions come. Soon, people begin to recognize that they were hearing gunshots, cascading from above. Unsure of where the bullets were coming from, panic mode sets in and everyone runs every which way, attempting to get to safety. Some are left temporarily paralyzed by terror on the ground.

The shooter turned out to be  a 64-year-old Nevada-born man with an abundance of weapons. From the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Stephen Paddock opened fire on the crowd below. Sources revealed he had been planning an attack like this for years. Beside his perch, a note sat, serving as an instruction manual, showing the calculations of where to shoot to hit the most “targets” from his position.

When the attack ceased, law officials and SWAT team members had ventured up to room 32135, uncertain of what they were walking into.

“[The door] looked like Swiss cheese,” K-9 officer Dave Newton said describing the scene in an interview with CNN. More than 10 bullets penetrated the door, that Paddock had secured shut with a metal plate screwed to the wall. When officials made it past the door, they discovered a total of 23 guns of different varieties in the luxury suite as well as enough ammunition to fire them all.  

The 500-plus people injured were rushed to hospitals via makeshift ambulances, driven by fellow concertgoers and citizens eager to help. Jamie Gougen, survivor of the massacre, was one of the many people triaging and directing the others. Hundreds of people like Gougen have been honored and recognized for the great bravery they demonstrated that cool October night.

A little over a week later, Paddock’s motive remains uncertain. After questioning those closest to him, including his girlfriend and his brother, nothing seems to fit together. It is also questionable based on the number of guns purchased by Paddock, whether or not it will make the U.S. government reconsider the meaning of the Second Amendment of the Constitution.

As of today, you must be 18 years old and fill out a six-page 4473 forum, giving general information about yourself, including some basic yes or no questions. For Paddock, this was easy. He had long surpassed the minimum age for purchasing, and since he led a very simple life, the 4473 wasn’t too complicated.

“I think that the government will really crack down on gun laws, specifically on the stocks used for making guns automatic since they are known for causing more mass casualties,” eighth grader Leonard Chown said.

Security is another big issue that is being scrutinized after the shootings. One of the survivors is attempting to sue the concert venue for not keeping them safe.

Nationwide, moments of silence were taken for those 58 who lost their lives during the attacks. By the end of the week, volunteers had already set up a Memorial Park and Garden, planting 58 trees to honor the victims.

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