A gunman opened fire last night at a music concert in Las Vegas. More than fifty people were killed and more than two hundred were injured. This is the worst mass shooting in US history.
Here’s what we know so far.
The Route 91 Harvest country music festival was taking place across the road from the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, near McCarran International Airport on the south side of the Las Vegas Strip. The gunman opened fire from a perch high up in the Mandalay Bay casino.
Police are now confirming that the main suspect is dead. Stephen Paddock, age sixty-four, was a resident of Mesquite, Nevada. He was apprehended on the thirty-second floor of Mandalay Bay, where he died. Las Vegas Sheriff Joe Lombardo does not believe there are any more shooters.
Authorities just announced that they have located Marilou Danley, a woman who was traveling with Paddock before the shooting. The victims have not yet been identified. They include two police officers who were on duty and were shot. One is in critical condition. According to the sheriff, other officers who were off duty were shot and killed at the concert.
Our first question is whether this was an act of terrorism. Sheriff Lombardo told reporters that he did not believe it was. He added that “because it’s an ongoing investigation, we don’t know what his belief system was at this time,” but the suspect has no known terrorist connections.
Not much else is known about Stephen Paddock at this hour. He was a white male and was not a military veteran. He had no criminal convictions in Nevada or run-ins with Mesquite police. He lived in a retirement community and apparently acted alone. Marilou Danley lived with him.
I am writing this Daily Article with a grieving heart, just as I am sure you are reading it in stunned disbelief and sadness as well. I hate that we live in a world where a single person can inflict such horrific pain. I hate that our world is so unpredictable that what happened last night in Las Vegas could happen anywhere at any time. I hate this feeling of impotence, this sense that we can do nothing to prevent such atrocities from continuing. I know you feel the same way.
But I also know that our Father is grieving with us.
The Creator of the universe is a Father who loves his children so much that his Son died for us (Romans 5:8). He feels all that we feel, including our pain and grief (John 11:35). “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted” (Psalm 34:18).
He wants us to “weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15), but he also wants us to do all we can to heal our broken world. If we give up, the criminals win. If we give up, Satan wins. He was “a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44) who “comes only to steal and kill and destroy,” but Jesus “came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
John Wesley: “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” Never give up. The more our world despairs, the more it needs the hope of Jesus.
One last word: When the shooting occurred, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman tweeted, “Pray for Las Vegas.” Please do so, right now.
NOTE: O. J. Simpson left prison yesterday. For my response, please read my latest website article: O. J. Simpson released: 2 biblical principles.