Three nights ago, at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, 59 people were killed and at least 527 injured in the deadliest mass shooting in American history.

To put these numbers into perspective; 59 people is 51% of M2019, 38% of M2020, and 29% of M2021; 59 is the number of people who were senselessly killed. Following this spiteful rampage, 527 people are injured. There are only 468 students currently enrolled in Minerva.

More people were injured in this attack than there are students at our university.

How many bullets would it take to kill and injure this many people? How many people does it take to kill and injure this many people?

Just one.

A music festival is supposed to be fun, not deadly.

Why does America continue to experience these massacres? Does our country not check our Facebook feeds for our condolence posts? Are our thoughts and prayers not enough to stop the bloodshed?

No, thoughts and prayers will never be enough. The only thing that thoughts and prayers will do is make ourselves feel better when these massacres take place in our very own schools, movie theatres, nightclubs, and now music festivals.

Unfortunately, our well-intentioned thoughts and prayers are doing nothing to help the victims, families, and even shooters of these massacres;  convincing ourselves that what our country is experiencing can be consoled with internal reflection and hope for better.

One day after the massacre, President Donald Trump tweeted, “My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!”

Now, I am not here to critique President Trump’s social media presence, but merely to point out that even our nation’s president is simply sending thoughts and prayers, “condolences and sympathies.” Although well intentioned, I’m sorry to tell you Mr. Trump that condolences will not stop the next mass shooting. And unfortunately, there will be a next one.

I am not being pessimistic about this matter, just relying on statistics:

There was another massacre after 13 were killed and 24 injured in Columbine, Colorado in 1999.

There was another massacre after 32 were killed and 17 injured in Blacksburg, Virginia in 2007.

There was another massacre after 12 were killed and 58 injured in Aurora, Colorado in 2012.

There was another massacre after 27 were killed and 1 injured in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012, and 14 were killed and 22 injured in San Bernardino, California, and 49 were killed and 58 injured in Orlando, Florida.

This is nowhere near a comprehensive list of all the mass shootings the United States has seen, remember that.

All of these massacres have one thing in common: we have given our “condolences and sympathies” to the victims, the injured, and families involved. Did that change anything? Considering massacres keep happening, I think it’s safe to say NO.

If our thoughts and prayers are not making a change, what will? Time and time again we pray, hope, and wish for no  more innocent people to be shot to death by some deranged person who fell off their rocker. We have wished this 131 times in the last 50 years, if you only count the shootings where four or more people were killed at once. When will we actually do something about mass shootings? At what point will we reach a tipping point?

What will change the trajectory of American mass shootings? Policy change.

What Can We Do? 

Calling for a denouncement of the Second Amendment is not the answer. Regulation is. We need to regulate who has access to the semi-automatic weapons used in warfare.

Congress just introduced a bill called “Concealed Carry Reciprocity” that would permit all 50 states to allow known stalkers, domestic abusers, the blind, and more to carry loaded guns—in public—with no safety training.

Simply click on this link to oppose the bill.

A civilian does not need to be able to fire 700 rounds a minute.

Our country can no longer tolerate these senseless killings.

Call your senators. Email your senators. Insist that you want universal background checks for those purchasing assault weapons. Demand they impose a minimum age limit of 21 for firearms of any purpose. Expect a ban on the possession of weapons by anyone subject to a domestic violence protection order. Promote safe storage of firearms to prevent accidental deaths.

Don’t know who your representative is? Find out here.

Want to send postal mail to your senators? Learn more here.

Ready to call, email, or learn addresses? Locate here.

When spreading information about mass shootings, refuse to share the name of the perpetuator. The “Don’t Name Them” campaign is encouraging media, law enforcement, and public information officers to move the focus from the shooters to the victims and heroes. The campaign recognizes that some shooters are motivated by a desire for recognition, and that the public cannot always put names to the victims, or the heroes, involved.

Let’s call for media that highlights the victims, survivors, and heroes. Learn more here.

I’m Not American, What Can I Do?

I’m glad you asked.

Sign a letter of condolence to the city of Las Vegas here.

Tag your American friends in the comments and hold them accountable for taking action.

What’s Next?

I encourage you to screenshot any email you send or call you make to Congress, and send pictures of your letters of condolence.

If everyone in our community does just one of these actions, we will have sent 468 emails to congress; put 468 signatures on petitions and letters of condolence.

If we each send two, that’s more emails to congress, signatures, and letters of condolence than there were victims.

We, as a community, have the power to make a change. Let us offer our condolences and sympathies, but let us also take action.