Not that it matters, but we still don’t know why Stephen Paddock carted 23 guns up to a 32nd floor suite of Mandalay Bay and rained bullets — nine shots per second — down on the Las Vegas Strip.
Not that it matters.
It doesn’t matter that Paddock killed 59 people at the latest count and injured hundreds of others. It doesn’t matter that he used guns converted from semi-automatic to fully automatic using a device known as a “bump stock,” according to the AP, that amplifies a weapon capable of firing 100 rounds per minute into a 500-round-per-minute death machine. You can type “bump stock” into Google and find hundreds of products for sale, legally, in the low three-figure range. And that, too, doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t matter because we’re long past the point of critical mass on the issue of guns in the United States — both the kind enshrined in the Second Amendment and this other kind, the type employed by Paddock, which are designed solely to slaughter large numbers of human beings, to wage war.
The gun lobby — fronted by the National Rifle Association and absorbed into its zero-tolerance policy on all gun legislation — is too powerful, a behemoth that frightens all Republicans and many Democrats into acquiescence of its terrible mission.
The Las Vegas Massacre, this unresolved slaughter — the worst mass shooting on US soil, as long as we don’t count what happened to the Native Americans or the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot or the Wilmington Riot of 1898, which in this instance don’t matter either — left the people who got us here unswayed in their pursuit of the NRA agenda.
We have thoughts. Prayers. Words for the victims and their families. Never action, which is what defines us in moments like this.
We have been repeatedly told that there is nothing to be done when innocent Americans fall under the bullets of a murderous rampage, that those deaths don’t matter.
What matters most, we’ve been shown, is that protecting Americans from getting shot is not nearly as important as protecting their right to shoot.