#Las Vegas saw the worst episode of mass shooting in modern US history as 59 people were murdered and over 500 wounded at a music concert on the strip. The killer, Stephen Paddock, was a 64-year-old retired accountant with no criminal record and no link to any extremist groups. And yet, this mild-mannered grandfather of four acquired over 40 weapons with no need for extensive checks and set himself up in a Vegas hotel room with 19 assault rifles and opened fire on innocent people below.

The president's reaction

President #trump was quick to condemn the act as one of 'pure evil' and sent a tweet soon after the event offering his condolences.

Advertisements
Advertisements

He observed a moment of silence on the White House grounds as a mark of respect for the victims and asked that the US flag be flown at half-mast.

Trump is a president, who has quickly gained a reputation in his short tenure, for fast and decisive action. He sent 50 plusTomahawk missiles to bomb Syria after chemical weapons were detonated, he exploded the MOAB in Afghanistan, he intends to build a wall to control immigration from Mexico, he banned immigration from Muslim countries to counter terrorist attacks and he dismisses employees at the drop of a hat. Why then has he not been more decisive when a lone, white, gunman senselessly massacres over 50 innocent concert goers?

The president and the NRA

The National Rifle Association ( NRA) is at the forefront of every discussion in America with every president whenever there is a gun-related incident.

Advertisements

Barack Obama was openly anti-NRA and tried and failed to enforce stricter gun control after the Sandy Hook shootings. When Trump was elected he proclaimed in an address to the NRA according to PBS Public Broadcasting Service, "You have a true friend and champion in The White House."

The fact is that the NRA, with around 5 million members, is a potent force to be reckoned with, politically speaking.That Trump should be so pro-NRA should come as no surprise when according to NBC News the NRA donated around $21 million dollars to his campaign - the most it has ever spent on a campaign.

The aftermath

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders spoke to the press after the event and has stated, " Now is not the time to discuss gun control laws." It does beg the question when would be the right time to discuss gun control? It is no secret that President Trump is a supporter of the second amendment ( right to bear arms) and when pushed by reporters Ms. Sanders stated that the president did not want to push through laws that would not prevent mass shootings.

Advertisements

The cost of inaction

After a #Mass Shooting in Australia at Port Arthur in 1996, Australian gun laws were considerably tightened and since that date, there has not been a single episode of a mass shooting. In other countries with strict gun laws, UK, Sweden, Germany, France, Italy, Israel, Spain, etc the picture is the same. In the USA with 300 million guns, there have been '1516 mass shootings in 1735 days' ( the Guardian 2 Oct 2017). The figures are stark and speak volumes, what President Trump, the NRA, and Congress must do is weigh up the human cost of doing nothing.