We need to be angry about Las Vegas

Yes, we need to mourn; but, along with that, we need action

Another day in America, another mass shooting. Early Monday morning, Stephen Paddock turned the Las Vegas strip into a war zone. The terrorist opened fire on a country music festival with an automatic weapon, killing upwards of 50 and injuring more than 500. He was armed with 17 guns.

The mainstream media will cover the events as it always has. There will be first-hand accounts from survivors. There will be a somber montage of the names and faces of those killed. There will be a forensic breakdown of the attack as it happened. There will be speculation about the motivation of the terrorist. There will be political leaders condemning the violence. Maybe a New England senator will call for gun control. There will be mourning, then quickly acceptance. And then we will move on to the next big news story.

On Vanderbilt’s campus, the same cycle has played itself out in conversations. There’s a sense of moral disorientation. There’s a manifestation of empathy. There are guesses about the cause of the attack. And then we talk about the Gen Chem test or the upcoming concert.

There’s an emotion that has been deeply underrepresented in the aftermaths of the Newtowns, of the Charlestons, of the Orlandos: anger. We need to be pissed off that our elected leaders have ignored our calls for commonsense gun control, which 85 percent of Americans stand for. We need to be angry that both Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander, Tennessee’s elected Senators, have accepted money from the NRA. We need to be furious that we have to have this conversation again and again, while no other developed democracies in the world do.

Yes, mourn the victims. Send your thoughts out to the families of the injured. Keep Las Vegas on your mind. But, along with that, actually do something. Call your senator. Yell at your congressperson at a town hall. Go to a protest.

But don’t let this one slip through your fingers. Not again.


  1. You put up this piece before we even have the facts of the matter. We don’t know how he got the weapons, if he had help, if he had a motive.
    Automatic weapons have effectively been illegal since 1986.
    In that sense, the guns are already “controlled.”
    How would the government successfully implement additional gun control if it cannot enforce that which it already has?
    Are you proposing a 28th amendment that overrides the 2nd?
    If you are not in favor of a 28th amendment, what other constitutional rights should we take away?
    Ok so let’s say you pass that, which in your mind would cut off future sales.

    There are over 100 million guns in the United States, do you propose buying all of those back? How do you propose the government has the right to take these away?
    Will the black market turn itself over?
    Way more people die at the hands of hand guns in Chicago then any assault weapons, should these be taken away?

    I acknowledge that there are real problems with gun violence in the United States, but saying you are “pro gun control” needs to have some more detail. “Yell.” “Protest.” Sure, that’s a good way to make noise, but where is the direction and at what cost are you prepared to restrict the individual’s right to bear arms?
    These are real questions, and it is far to simple to be mad when we are all devastated.