What Does the Las Vegas Shooting Tell Us About the World?
Can you even imagine being shot or worse still, being shot to death? Well, in a country that protects the right of the ordinary man to keep and bear arms, it appears that being shot really doesn’t need to be left to the imagination anymore. In 2017 alone, there have been over 46,000 incidents of gun violence in the USA, resulting in almost 24,000 people injured and 11,689 people dead.
Today, mass shootings are a regular occurrence in the ‘land of hope and freedom’, America. Recent incidents include the Orlando nightclub shooting which happened last year killing 49 people; the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in 2012 where 20 school children between the ages of six and seven along with six adults were shot dead, and most recently, the Las Vegas shooting which happened on 1st October at an outdoor concert in the American city, so far killing 59 people and injuring a further 527. There are many issues at play here and everyone across social media is giving their opinion on why the media is not labelling the white, male shooter as a terrorist, along with many a discussion taking place about American gun laws. But what I want to explore today is the root cause of all of this violence and suffering – after all, if you hand someone a gun, they don’t actually have to shoot. So why are so many people choosing to pull the trigger in America?
Mental Health and Depression
It is no secret that depression, anxiety and similar mental health problems are on the rise worldwide. The World Health Organisation estimates that globally there are around 350 million people suffering from some form of depression, and 16 million of those people in America had at least one major depressive episode in 2012 (when the last study was completed). What is shocking even further is that 50% of all Americans suffering from some form of depression do not seek treatment or help, meaning that for most people, their depression remains or continues to get worse.
If you have had depression, you will know just how dark and miserable of a place it is. It can leave you feeling like you are a million miles away from the person that you used to be. In some cases, if left unresolved or untreated depression can lead to other mental illnesses such as psychosis, which causes people to perceive or interpret things differently in comparison to others around them. For someone to get to the stage where they want to physically harm and kill other people (such as detonating a bomb or going on a mass shooting spree like Stephen Paddock did earlier this month), they must be suffering so deeply and strongly within themselves, that the only way out is to project that pain on to something or someone else, regardless of what the outcome may be.
The Essence of the Human Being
I know as a society we immediately like to judge and label people – especially the people who commit the most atrocious and sickening of crimes – but I believe before any judgement takes place, we must try to understand why those crimes ever happened in the first place, as difficult and as painful as that may be. When it comes to cases like this of mass murder and terrorism, I understand that many people will believe that the killers don’t even deserve the time of day – but if we continue to live like this, passing judgement and failing to go and look deeper, what will we ever achieve?
We come to this world in our purest forms – pure, innocent souls in our true state of being – but from the moment we are born, the world around us begins to mould us, change us and shape us. The social order allows some to win while marginalising others, putting them in competition with one another and throwing them to the edges of society. There are so many ways that the social order can impact upon the impressionable mind of a human being and if we are to progress in any way in terms of violence and destruction in the world, we MUST look to the reasons pushing people to depression.
A White Shooter
When a Muslim commits a terrorist attack, it is easy to quickly pinpoint the cause as the ‘evil ideologies’ of Islam that the world is being made to believe, and be done with. However, when the terrorist is a white man, suddenly the Muslims can’t be blamed and it appears that rather than looking to what is actually making those people use the deadly weapons in the first place, it is much easier to continue conversation around gun laws in America (despite nothing ever actually changing). In my opinion, deep-rooted suffering, extreme unhappiness and a blatant unconsciousness of the people are the main reasons behind all of the evil that takes place in this world on a daily basis and yes, tighter gun laws are needed (guns just need to be banned full-stop), this is obvious, but even more importantly, if we are stop murder like this altogether, what I have mentioned above is what needs to be addressed.
The Las Vegas shooting along with the Orlando shooting and Sandy Hook are all examples of how the unhappiness of the people is violently manifesting itself in America and in the world around us. On a smaller scale, we see these manifestations everywhere through other forms of violence, whether that be through bullying, domestic violence or even self-harm.
So what needs to be done? Well, it is clear that we need to change the systems by which we live that are contributing to such unhappiness. But just as importantly, we need to take responsibility and address our own mental health, our own spirit and being, and strive to return to that pure state that we arrived to this world in. It is only when the mentality and the consciousness of the people changes that the world will actually change. Until then, I’m sure there will be many more innocent deaths that could be prevented, unless we begin to have the right conversations.
My sympathy to all the victims and their loved ones.