Las Vegas Shooting – A Reflection on Values

  • We're ignoring the social development that makes people what to kill others!
  • It appears our values of working together for common ground no longer exist.
  • If we as adults don’t stop looking for reasons to disagree rather than for reasons to agree, this will never stop.

What has happen to America?!? It’s been 2 years since the Las Vegas shootings where 59 people loss their lives and in the past year the number of mass shootings has reached 26. As usual our focus has moved to other issues so the number of new laws restricting the purchase of high power weapons has been minimum.

On the night of October 1, 2017, a shooter opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada. He killed 58 people and wounded 422, with the ensuing panic bringing the injury total to 851. The shooter, a 64-year-old man from Mesquite, Nevada, fired more than 1,100 rounds of ammunition from his suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel. The shooter was found dead in his room from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His motive remains officially undetermined. The incident is the deadliest mass shooting committed by an individual in the history of the United States.

We can all agree that the access to guns is an obvious problem; however, it isn’t the only contributing factor. We continue to ignore the other possible factors in the discussion about solutions such as the values we have been promoting the past 40 years. There was a time in our country that public lawmakers could put petty arguments to the side and  focus on the large issue to protect those that were vulnerable, especially at our schools, churches, retail outlets, synagogues and outdoor events. However it appears our values of working together for common ground no longer exist.

It doesn’t matter whether the location is the inner city, the suburbs or rural America, there has been a societal shift so dramatic that we’re witnessing these mass killings continue to occur. Whenever the adults around these killers are asked if they knew this was developing, the answer is always the same, “We had no idea,” or “We never saw any signs of trouble.”  Maybe we need to start asking ourselves as adults what we’re doing to create the mindset to believe that violence is the only option!

So I’m wondering the following:

  • Could these problems stem from the adults that own the record labels and radio stations that produce and play music that promotes sex, violence and drug use as normal behavior?
  • Could it be the adults that use loopholes in laws to target our citizens with addictive medications, thereby creating a new generation of drug addicts? Could it be the adults who have passed laws that encourage the use of marijuana with new delivery systems as a new way to profit as well as promoting the message that medication is the solution to every emotional issue?
  • Could it be the adults that created the internet and various web sites that teach how to plan, prepare, and execute mass violent attacks?
  • Could it be the adults that own TV, movie, and video businesses that encourage senseless violence, deviant behavior and misleading information that leads to confusion and self-destruction?

If we as adults don’t stop looking for reasons to disagree rather than for reasons to agree, this will never stop. If we as adults don’t stop letting industry influences stop us from coming together for the safety of our citizens, this will never stop. If we don’t stop making laws that protect violent behavior as free speech or expression, this will not stop! If the past three presidents and Congress failed, does this mean our problem is too big to solve? I wonder!

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greg raleigh

Greg Raleigh serves as commissioner to the Washington, DC Mayor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Nutrition and works with the American Bar Association’s Commission on “At Risk Youth” He is the Founder of the non-profit, Food for fuel. He has advocated for African American youth in Washington DC for decades as a youth counselor and motivational speaker.
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