At least 59 are dead and more than 500 were wounded in the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas on Sunday, as a lone gunman rained down thousands of rounds from his fully automatic rifles on to attendees at outdoor country music concert. The shooter, reportedly a retired real estate investor and high-stakes gambler who lived in nearby Mesquite, is said to have killed himself as the Las Vegas SWAT team located him in his room, from where he was firing on the 32nd floor of the Monterey Bay Hotel and Casino, where he had been firing from. He was reportedly in custody of as many as 19 high-powered weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition in his hotel room, which he used to carry out the shooting on concert goers at least 400 yards away.
In the bargain, 64-year old Stephen Craig Paddock was allegedly able to carry out the worst mass shooting murder in modern American history in a matter of 10 to 15 horrifying minutes. After a brief update on some of the important news from over the weekend (other than in Vegas) regarding Puerto Rico and North Korea, we discuss what is known about the massacre as of air time and the White House reaction to it from both the President and his Press Secretary (who says, predictably, that it's "premature" to discuss what to do about such things.)
For the record, while the shooting in Vegas was the worst in modern history, according to GunViolenceArchive.org, the Las Vegas massacre marks the 273rd mass shooting in 2017, in 275 days so far this year. A total of 11,652 people have been killed in all gun violence incidents this year, with 23,512 having been injured. (Those statistics do not include the number of suicides by gun, which would add tens of thousands of more victims to those totals for 2017, according to the Archive.)
No motive is currently known for the shooting, though it hardly matters. Whether homegrown terrorist or ISIS recruit, it's very easy to legally obtain obscenely deadly, military-style assault weapons in this country. The results are the same, no matter the motive.
Then, we examine just some of hard data on violent gun deaths in the US, much of it compiled by Vox.com's Zack Beauchamp, including why studies find the rates of murder and suicide by gun in the US are so much higher (some 25 times higher) than in other prosperous developed nations with otherwise comparable crime rates. The difference between those countries and ours? The number of guns per capita. We also look at the available empirical data on how (and if) gun safety laws actually reduce the rate of both homicide and suicide in countries around the world (including the US) after gun safety restrictions are strengthened and/or loosened. Australia, for a number of reasons, provides a particularly stark example. But other nations do as well.
Much of what we cover and discuss today, on the surface, seems as if it should be blatantly obvious. The data sets are true no matter how one feels about guns and the Second Amendment and why the Founders enacted it. Unfortunately, many of these facts are not as well understood by the public as one might think and hope, particularly given the partisan political restrictions on tracking and/or debating and/or even discussing these matters. That, thanks in no small part to the decades of propaganda and partisan political campaigning by the terrorist-enabling National Rifle Association (NRA) and the arms lobby that it represents.
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