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$800 M for Las Vegas, but killings will continue



THE United States of America’s orst mass shooting ever was a massacre by a lone gunman firing multiple high-powered firearms from his 32nd floor hotel room in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, at a crowd attending an outdoor country music festival in October, 2017.

Last Thursday, October 3, the hotel owner, a chain under MGM Resorts International, announced it was settling up to $800 million in claims filed by the families of the 58 dead and 800 wounded.

The Las Vegas incident is only one of 334 mass shootings thus far in 2019 in the US in which at least four were killed in each incident by one man armed with an assault weapon capable of firing hundreds of bullets with one pull of the trigger. Just two months ago, last August, a man armed with an AK-47 military firearm fired at the crowd in a Walmart mall in El Paso, Texas, killing 20 and wounding 26. A few hours earlier, another gunman had killed nine and wounded 27 in Dayton, Ohio.

After each of the many mass killings in the US, there were demands for greater government control of firearms, particularly a ban on military firearms and stricter requirements for civilians to possess guns. There were many protest rallies after mass killings in schools. But the US Congress has not taken any move to enact any legislation for firearms restrictions, as this might be deemed a violation of the 2nd Amendment in the US Constitution.

MGM Resorts International was sued in the Las Vegas case by the victims’ families who accused it of negligence for not noticing the stockpiling of arms in the killer’s hotel room. But the killer was able to legally acquire the many weapons in the first place – that, to many critics of the government, was also negligence that must not be allowed to continue.

All other countries in the world, including the Philippines, place severe restrictions on gun ownership. There are mass killings by some deranged civilian killers in many countries, but the US seems to hold the record for having the most.

In agreeing to pay $800 million to the families of the Las Vegas shooting in 2017, MGM Resorts said it was not an admission of liability for the shooting; it was just to resolve matters “so our community and the victims and their families can move forward in the healing process.”

It will indeed help the families of the 58 dead and 800 wounded victims. But it does not change the big picture of so many guns easily acquired and continuing to increase in the US. And so we can only say after that last mass killing in El Paso, Texas, that we can expect many more to come.