Ruibal column: Las Vegas another reminder of work to be done | PostIndependent.com

Ruibal column: Las Vegas another reminder of work to be done

Sallee Ann Ruibal
sruibal@postindependent.com
Sallee Ann Ruibal
Chelsea Self / Post Independent |

In the past two years, more than 200 people have been killed in mass attacks at concerts and nightclubs.

Soon after Eagles of Death Metal proclaimed the Bataclan crowd “nos amis” — our friends — gunmen rained bullets down from the balcony. Eighty-nine died in November 2015 at the concert in Paris.

People of all ages, gender and sexual identities found where they could let loose at Pulse. Forty-nine were killed in June 2016 at the Orlando nightclub.

Crowds leaving Manchester Arena after the Ariana Grande concert — a pop artist known for her youth and vivaciousness — were met with bombs. Twenty-three died this past May in Manchester.

And just earlier this month, Jason Aldean’s smooth country set was annihilated with bullets from the neighboring Mandalay Bay. Fifty-eight died in Las Vegas.

When you were 22, was your first thought when considering a music festival, “I wonder if this will be the next target?”

Because that’s the reality now.

No, you can’t live your life in fear. A fearful life is hardly a life at all. But you also can’t look at the past few years and think that everything is fine as it is.

I tallied how many mass shootings happened in the U.S. alone from the time my mother was born to when she turned 23. I did the same for me.

Her: 5.

Me: 109.

Yes, there have been wars with greater casualties throughout history. But a concert hall isn’t a battleground. Neither is a movie theater, a football arena, a college campus and sure as hell not an elementary school. But none of those have led to much change yet.

Is the change gun control? Maybe. Seems the most logical.

But Paris has tight gun control. The French don’t have the seemingly sacred right to bear arms, and owning a gun requires a license that must be regularly renewed and includes a psychological evaluation.

The Bataclan still happened.

“I think the only way that my mind has been changed is that maybe that until nobody has guns everybody has to have them, because I don’t want to see anything like this ever happen again, and I want everyone to have the best chance to live,” Eagles of Death Metal frontman Jesse Hughes said in an interview with iTélé a couple of months after the attack.

On that tragic night, Hughes said guns could have made people equal in the fight to protect themselves.

But that same logic can’t be applied when a gunman is shooting into a crowd from his hotel room on the 32nd floor.

So maybe the problem isn’t guns. Or bombs.

The problem is the force of evil in this world that wants to take a massive crowd of individuals coming together as one positive entity for one night and turn it into a hollowed graveyard.

What can solve this?

I’m not wise enough to know that answer. I’m not a politician or a lobbyist. I’m not naive enough to think one piece of legislation could change everything. It’s many steps. Many people coming together once again for a single cause. Because this can’t keep happening.

Sallee Ann Ruibal is the Post Independent’s engagement editor.


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