On December 6th, a gunman struck the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) campus. With chaos spreading across the campus and the city, lockdown procedures were put in place in numerous locations. While initial reports were varied, when the smoke cleared three lay dead and a fourth was in critical condition from their wounds.
Wasting no time to go to the media with a message, President Joe Biden appealed to the American people almost immediately with a statement.
“For all the action we have taken since I’ve been President, the epidemic of gun violence we face demands that we do even more. But we cannot do more without Congress. Republican lawmakers must join with Democrats in Congress to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, pass a national red flag law, enact universal background checks, require the safe storage of guns, and advance other commonsense measures that will help stem the tide of gun violence.”
Attempting to close off the statement, he tried linking this shooting with another in Texas that was carried out against a former US Army Officer who had killed his parents in San Antonio, TX, and then shot others, including two police officers, in Austin, Texas. In both situations, the names, ages, and types of weapons used in each of those shootings were unknown when Biden decided to open his cake hole on the subject.
In the UNLV case, it turns out that along with using a handgun that had legally been purchased, through a retail location, 18 months previously. Also, the shooter was a senior citizen. To be specific, the shooter was 67-year-old Anthony Polito. A career collegiate professor who had applied for a position at UNLV but was denied employment with the University. Armed with his 9mm Taurus pistol, he targeted employees of the school, with all three deaths coming from professors or staff.
When Polito arrived, he had a list of people he planned to target, both from UNLV and East Carolina University. However, none of the people on that list were targeted. With arriving police having him surrounded, Polito engaged them in a gun battle. One he lost quickly and with no casualties for law enforcement, only minor injuries.
Closing in after the gunfight had been waged, officers found Polito dead with over 150 unshot rounds with him. Bringing a cache with him like this indicates that the madman either planned on shooting at everyone he saw, or going out in a blaze of glory while taking everyone with him he could find.
Having a sitting President popping off political agenda messages when the entire story isn’t known is not only incredibly dangerous, but it sends a horrific message to the world. A message that says we have elected this dementia-riddled man to an office that requires careful thought and consideration before speaking or acting; one that takes diplomacy and intervention. By giving him a task that is seemingly impossible for him, we are telling the globe we no longer know what we are doing.
Instead of pushing a message of love, of condolences for the families of the victims, he pushes one of division. A message that consistently blames the tool and suggests that background checks that are already being used will somehow make things better. Or make these mass shootings less frequent.
To cut it down to the marrow, these mass shooters are always giving indications that so many claim they saw the signs, but never did anything to prevent it. If we as a nation took mental health more seriously, this could change. Simply forcing those who are unable to function as proper members of society to go on medication, and if they refuse it, institutionalizing them is the best answer.
Just putting more roadblocks up for people looking to legally defend themselves and stripping away a Constitutional right is not the answer to the problem we have as a nation. If anything, it is more imperative than ever that we rid ourselves of the mentality that everyone is good, or that help is right there. When seconds count in incidents like these, police are often minutes away. Time to cut that time down and respond ourselves.