by Graham Pierrepoint
The horror of the shooting massacre in Las Vegas earlier this week continues to reverberate. It’s likely to be regarded as the biggest incident of its kind on US soil in the modern age, with at least 59 killed at the time of writing – and with almost 530 more being treated for injuries. Sources currently say that the suspect at the center of the tragedy was a lone gunman, one who reportedly had a private arsenal of over 40 different weapons and who had taken his own life before he could be brought to justice. Reports at this time, of course, remain speculative – but regardless of the full detail, it is a horrific incident which starkly stands alone – in a year that appears to have been full of tragedy for so many innocent people worldwide.
Constitutional flexibility and White House politics aside, the incident will be a huge test for US politics moving forwards. The US has been steeped in a year of considerable drama – leaving aside President Trump coming to office, communities across the US, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and surrounding territories are still recovering from a triple barrage of hurricanes the like of which have not been seen inland for decades. This year, Trump’s first in office, has been a genuine test for the statesman – and this latest tragedy will likely be one of the most ground-shaking as far as the law of the land and the political spectrum is concerned.
The lone gunman who reportedly killed scores of people and savaged hundreds more will be heavily scrutinized in the press – as he already is being. This is a terrorist attack unlike those which have preceded it – while certain groups may claim that they are responsible, it remains to be said that the elephant walking back into the room here will be gun control. It is a contentious issue that has divided parties, states, and even families – how will Trump, and the Republican Party, address such concerns given the scale of the tragedy that is only just unfolding?
It may be possible that some of those against gun control in the past could be swayed – it is impossible to think that this incident won’t send ripples across the states. However, the ball will start rolling once the White House et al take the lead – and we will have to see what the Las Vegas shooting means for the future of arms-bearing for millions of US citizens in the months and years to come.