A sixty-year-old opened fire and killed at least three people on Wednesday December 6 on the campus of the University of Las Vegas before being killed by the police, a tragedy which arouses emotion in this city already victim of one of the worst gun massacres in the United States in 2017.
“The deaths of three of the victims have been confirmed,” Las Vegas Sheriff Kevin McMahill announced to the press. Another person was injured and is in “stable condition,” he added. The gunshots were reported at midday on the campus of the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, located about two kilometers from the famous “strip”, a thoroughfare known worldwide for its casinos.
Motivations unknown at the moment
If the identity of the shooter has not yet been officially revealed, the man was a sixty-year-old academic whose motivations remain unknown for the moment, according to CNN and the Los Angeles Times, who cite sources close to the matter. He was quickly neutralized during a confrontation with the police.
Students were gathered outside and sharing a meal when the attack occurred, and “countless additional lives could have been taken” without the rapid action of law enforcement, the sheriff said. Several agents, some of whom were off duty, intervened “without hesitation within a few minutes,” according to him. The university canceled classes and asked everyone on campus to self-isolate while police evacuated buildings one by one to ward off any further threats.
The shooting caused panic on the spot. Several students told local media how they sheltered inside the buildings for long minutes. “Now we have to try to recover from this and it’s sad,” one student told local television KSNV. “This is a very difficult time,” observed Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, denouncing the banality of gun violence in the United States.
In 2017, 58 people killed at a concert
This drama also reopens the wounds of the massacre suffered by Las Vegas in 2017, one of the worst in the history of the United States. At the time, a man killed 58 people and injured hundreds when he opened fire on the crowd at a country music concert from the 32nd floor of a hotel overlooking the event. The shooter committed suicide.
This umpteenth American tragedy further adds to the very heavy price paid by the United States because of the proliferation of firearms on their territory and their ease of access. The country has more individual weapons than inhabitants: one in three adults owns at least one weapon and almost one in two adults lives in a home where there is a weapon.
The recurrence of gun violence “is not normal, and we cannot let it become normal,” said President Joe Biden, recalling the sad assessment made by the Gun Violence Archive site. “This year alone”, this organization which refers to the United States has recorded more than 600 attacks resulting in at least four injuries or deaths, and 40,000 deaths caused by firearms – the majority suicides.
Call for the implementation of systematic purchasing controls
The Democratic president once again reiterated his call to ban assault rifles and implement truly systematic background checks on people wishing to purchase a firearm. But without a majority in Congress, where the House of Representatives is dominated by Republicans, this remains wishful thinking.
Despite the emotion caused by each killing, the right to bear firearms, guaranteed by the American Constitution, is a hot topic that deeply divides progressives and conservatives, who defend a maximalist vision. Visiting Las Vegas for an NBA match, basketball superstar LeBron James expressed his weariness in the face of the country’s paralysis.
“We’re still faced with the same story, the same conversation every time this happens,” sighed the Los Angeles Lakers player. “There has been no change, it’s ridiculous. Continuing to lose innocent lives makes no sense, on campuses, in schools, in stores, in cinemas, it’s ridiculous. It’s even become easier to own a gun, it’s stupid. »