Las Vegas Shooting Leaves Students Upset
by Sanders Jett-Folk
At around 10pm on Sunday night, a horrific tragedy occurred when Stephen Paddock opened fire on a country music festival taking place below his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino hotel. He took at least 59 lives and injured at least 527 others, making it the deadliest mass shooting in American history. 
Paddock, a 64 year old from Mesquite, Nevada, had no criminal record prior to the shooting. He shot himself in his hotel room immediately after inflicting carnage on the concertgoers below him. 23 rifles have been found so far in the hotel room where he was staying. He committed the attack on his own, with no known ties to any terrorist groups. 
The incident started during Jason Aldean’s headlining show at the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival taking place along the Las Vegas strip. Aldean was mid-song when the shooting began. Paddock shattered two windows in his hotel room and began firing at the concert attendees below him. All 22,000 concertgoers began scrambling to get out of the arena. Aldean and his band quickly darted off of the stage. 
Country singer Jake Owen, who was just off stage when the shooting started, said in an interview with NBC News that “[The shots] got faster and faster, almost like it was an automatic rifle. At that point, everyone on the stage started running everywhere.” 
In an interview with CNN, Shelly Mallory, a woman who was at the festival, said “Every time we heard shots, we’d hit the ground and just stay there until they would stop for about 30 to 45 seconds. And then we would run as fast as we could.” 
When departing the White House on Tuesday, President Donald Trump said that the quick response of law enforcement during the shooting was “…in many ways, a miracle.”  On Monday morning during his official press conference regarding the tragedy, Trump said that all Americans are “…joined together today in sadness, shock, and grief,” and condemned the shooting as an “act of pure evil.” 
Several WHS students and staff members responded to the travesty that occurred in Las Vegas.
Principal Tracey Kibler commented in a lengthy statement, “This tragedy, like so many similar others in this country over the years, has truly saddened my heart and caused anger to my soul. Personally it is incomprehensible to understand or imagine the motivation or mental perspective of a person to commit such a horrific act. I am deeply worried about the state of our country for many reasons, but the greatest is the lack of human compassion, empathy and acceptance.
“Incidents such as this one, although, undeniably evil and tragic, are too often quickly forgotten or removed from our hearts because either we have become desensitized to such violence or because the time line between this event and one similar will be so short we immediately move onto the next tragedy leaving the devastation of this one in the rear view mirror. Events like Las Vegas, Orlando, Virginia Tech, [and] Sandy Hook should never be forgotten or placed in our subconscious.”
“Daily we are inundated through social media and news outlets of the evil or illegal incidents in this country and our world that it is often difficult to focus your prayers and support to just one. In many cases people just move on with their lives. In the past 30 days we have witnessed Harvey, Irma, dissention of races and civility in public recreational forums such as the NFL, and now this historic massacre in Las Vegas. Whether it be the forces of Mother Nature or the despicable acts of men, our country needs to find a means back to basic humanistic ethical beliefs; we take care of one another in time of need, love our neighbors and treat them as we desire to be treated, value the life of all people and act with integrity and honor.”
Kibler then added “My condolences and prayers go out to the families and loved-ones of the victims. To the City of Las Vegas, may they stand united as they heal from this event and rebuild a sense of normalcy. To the Officers, First Responders, and Brave Nameless Citizens present at the concert who shielded others or came to victims’ comfort in their hours of pain and suffering; you are the true heroes of this country who selflessly place your own safety behind the people you serve and protect. Thank you!”
Sophomore Jason Escobar said “Things like this keep happening in this country. It’s hard to believe that this is still happening in 2017. My heart goes out to all of the victims. I’m glad that the first responders were able to quickly deal with the situation.”
Junior Kevin Fletcher commented “I think what happened in Las Vegas was a terrible thing. I think people should donate to organizations that are helping the victims and their families, such as by giving money or donating blood.”
There are many ways that the Walkersville community can help in the aftermath of this horrific event, such as donating to fundraisers/charities and donating blood.
Following such a tragic incident as this shooting, it is important that we all remain united and stand strong when acts of terror like this occur. As a community and a country, we are stronger when we are united as one.
Follow this link to help the victims and families of Las Vegas. http://abc7.com/how-to-help-las-vegas/2479000/