Mead students react to Las Vegas Shooting

Mead High Speech and Debate students discuss an event that has shocked the world.

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  • Students are eager to respond to the current event discussion.

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Kassidy Trembath, Editor in Chief

On the morning of October 10th, 2017, the Mead High School speech and debate class discussed a question, asked by Ashleigh Seery, that is rather heavy: should gun control laws be tightened as a result of the Las Vegas shooting?

According to the National Public Radio, published by Kirk Siegler on October 3rd, 2017, the current Nevada gun laws are as follows:  “Nevada is an open-carry state, meaning openly carrying long guns, rifles and other weapons in public places is generally okay, apart from in courtrooms and in schools. Some casinos have also moved to prohibit them. It’s also relatively easy to obtain a concealed-carry permit and there are no restrictions on semi-automatic weapons or large-capacity magazines.”

Prior to the mass shooting in Las Vegas, which killed almost 60 people and injured approximately 489 people (ranging from ages about 20-67), gun control was debated by many people with a wide range of occupations. Gun control is not a simple topic and there are no solutions that would be easy or satisfying to all citizens, which is why it is so controversial. Since the shooting, heavy arguments have been had about what may have been able to prevent it, and how to prevent further incidents.

Many students were very upset when they first heard about what had happened. Senior Rachel Kolkow said “ It actually made my stomach turn. I had a friend who was physically there… and her friend was actually hurt in the shooting”. On a night that was supposed to be memorable for all attendees was instead one of the scariest days of their lives. Sophomore Kira Schott explained she “was in disbelief,” further commenting: “After talking with my family members it made me really sad… it made me scared to go in public places. For something like that to happen out of nowhere is really scary for me.”

Going into public places is a daily occurrence for most Americans. According to a national household survey, each American takes 4 trips daily to places like the grocery store, errands, and social events. When events such as this occur, it creates fear for people to go out to do certain things or go to certain places.

Soon after the debate ended, I interviewed 4 students (Thomas Malais, Anna Hergert, Kira Schott, and Rachel Kolkow) from Speech and Debate who were still debating about what they thought was the next efficient step for gun control. Although some of their opinions collide and some overlap, they all have personal experiences with situations like this: some have family in law enforcement, while some have friends and family who have been in tragic situations.

Sophomore Anna Hergert said that “My dad was a police officer for a really long time and he has witnessed all…He was in Denver with his partner and there was someone there who was a criminal and they had a gun… His partner was shot and killed and he was in the ambulance when she died.” Still, she says, “I definitely don’t think we should ban guns. But I think that certain mental disorders should be added to background checks. Certain family criminal charges should also not allow someone to have a gun.”

While debating, senior Thomas Malais stated “I personally believe that certain mental illnesses should prevent people from buying firearms but I also believe that people should be vetted and checked by doctors and put into the system…even if it’s just the FBI or CIA who has access to that, because the background checks are through them. Then I believe it would be a lot better having a government sort of vet out people with mental disorders and prevent certain people from getting firearms.” During the interview, he referred to a quote by Benjamin Franklin that says: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Malais strongly agrees with this in relation to gun control.

Tragic events such as this massacre affect so many people, such as government officials, politicians, friends/families of victims, and people who were related to the event, and many more.

While opinions on the event are diverse, Americans are still joining together in support of all of the victims. There has been a GoFundMe page started for the victims. According to the New York Daily News,  “More than 60,000 people have donated more than $8 million in just over 24 hours to support the victims of the Las Vegas massacre. In all, 63,516 people chipped in $8,289,449 to a GoFundMe page(click here to donate) started Monday by Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak.”