Lessons from Las Vegas

His evil act has caused alarm and concern in the USA and around the world; Very soon the debate around gun control in the USA will come to the fore and Trump will have hard time defending the possession of guns.
Lessons from Las Vegas
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Mass Shooting

Stephen Paddock went up inside 32nd floor of a building and from there opened relentless and indiscriminate fire at people. The people were part of a music concert near the high rise building. The assassin had stockpiled guns and ammunition so that he could finish off as many people as he could. As soon as news went around, Special Forces used in such situations, what are known as SWAT, took no time in identifying the source of shooting. Before they could neutralize the assassin, the latter had shot himself, and his body lay there in the room with a set of around dozen automatic weapons. Before he killed himself, he had shot dead around sixty people, and wounded over five hundred people.

His evil act has caused alarm and concern in the USA and around the world. Very soon the debate around gun control in the USA will come to the fore and Trump will have hard time defending the possession of guns. Because behind the possibility of mass shootings is the loose culture of the possession of lethal weapons, which his Party does support. While the debate about guns and the motive behind the shooting will be probed to the deepest depths, there is something for us in the third world to ponder on, or to narrow it further to our corner of world, and draw some lessons, which might get lost in the gory scenes of death and destruction which unfolded in Las Vegas.

Reasoned Response

Stephen Paddock was unmarried. It came to be known that he has a brother and was having a relationship with some woman. The media traced him and he was interviewed. The manner in which he is treated, in spite of being the brother of a person who just shot around sixty people, is exemplary. He is fielding questions from media as if he is the head of state, with mikes at a safe distance from his person. There is no sign of insult, humiliation hurled at him, scenes which are so common when entire families are blamed here for the crime of one person. There is no judgment on his person and his style. He said that the last time his brother texted was when hurricane Irma came, and Stephen inquired about his mother and asked whether power had returned to their home. If it had been in our part of the world, forget about giving him time to respond, the entire house would have been raided, insults hurled, humiliation piled on him by the law enforcement agencies, threatening gestures cast at him, to the extent that he might have lost sense, or a statement extracted from him to the sweet taste of the authorities. Law in such situations goes into a tailspin and enforcement emerges from mobs and crowds. A person commits the crime, and whole families are stigmatized, tortured and threatened, making their life miserable. On many occasions, it turns out that the person had not actually committed the crime.

Immediately, after the incident, the local police, the FBI and the Homeland Security came out with a statement that they were probing the matter, and that preliminary investigation revealed that there was no terror angle. Interestingly, as the bodies were being identified and picked up from the scene, conclusion had been drawn in Indian media studios (one is shocked to see the rapid decline in ethical standards of Indian media in the last few years). Almost all channels came out with an ISIS angle. That Stephen Paddock had recently converted to Islam, and that ISIS has claimed responsibility (because they had planted some quick-change murderous chip in him!). Looks like after the ruins of ISIS in Raqqa, Iraq, the job of resuscitating the terror outfit has been assigned to the Indian media, especially electronic media. The American security agencies believe that there is no international terror angle, but what went on air in India is the spectre of ISIS. The brother of the assassin says that Stephen frequented gambling centers in Las Vegas, yet anchors here tell us that ISIS angle cannot be ruled out. Even at the height of extreme provocation and blood spilled over the roads and boulevards of Las Vegas, we should witness with applause, the calm, poise and rational manner in which the investigation is taking off, without pandering to the emotional needs of people.To prove that the administration is not weak, and the political dispensation will not surrender before the assassins and the criminals, in our part of the world the law enforcement authorities can go to any extent to prove themselves otherwise. Even if that means repeating Pathribal hundred times over.Because ultimately, law is on the side of the mighty and powerful and justice is merely a word.

We do not rationally look for motives. We stigmatize. We do not focus on the individual and his action. We encircle the whole family and its behavior. We do not uphold the supremacy of law and the dignity of human being. We make law subservient to the caprice of the few and use human beings for the interests of the few.

Mirror for us

There is every word in the lexicon that we can use to underline the horror of the event in Las Vegas. The deaths of innocent human beings are unfortunate. However, instead of just looking at the negative and the bad aspects of this bloodbath, there is a strong reason for us to use the subsequent events as a mirror. A mirror as clean as it can get. To find out what we do when a murder occurs, and that too when a murder is of the magnitude of Las Vegas. It is easier to be carried away by the thrill and sensation of events but difficult to ponder on the fair execution of law. Las Vegas is tragedy for them, for us we have enough reason to observe the manner in which the legal machine proceeds.

javjnu@gmail.com

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