Back when I started this website, I decided to quote-unquote “stick to sports,” where “sports” was just all the stuff I actually cared about. That indeed includes sports, and movies, and video games, and TV, and food, and all the other weird things that capture my attention long enough to write coherent thoughts about. Politics and world news are nowhere near my list of interests. I’ve made a point to never mention Trump, or North Korea, or the Anthem, or any of the other bullshit that’s happening in the world, not only because I don’t care about it, but because I know that whatever tiny population of people that actually come here entertainment or educational or any other reason couldn’t possibly care less about my takes on current events. So when I woke up this morning, the only thing on my mind was debating whether I should write my MLB Awards post or write something complaining about the Patriots’ defense. Then I saw that a gunman had opened fire on a Las Vegas concert, resulting in the deadliest mass shooting in American history, a list that gets updated every year. All of a sudden, it didn’t really feel right to write about sports or to find another goofy article about duck penises. This was impossible to ignore, and it was just about the only thing capable of dragging me into this part of the world. So, if you’ll indulge my ego for a bit, I’d like to briefly discuss what happened in Vegas.
The first thing that really struck me when I watched some of the videos (I won’t post them here, but they’re easy to find) was that Vegas, in my mind, was kind of supposed to be a safe haven. It sounds stupid considering all the various vices the aptly named Sin City is known for, but it’s really a fantasy land, not a real place. Sure, people actually live in Las Vegas for some reason, but I’m willing to bet 99.9% of the people who are in the Strip at any given time are tourists or people there to get away from their actual lives. I’ve only been to Vegas once, and I was 13 or 14 and my dad and I stayed there for one night waiting for a flight the next morning. Even as someone who could participate in literally 0% of the things that make Vegas what it is, I understood the allure. The flashing lights, the themed hotels, the opulence. It made me forget my own boring life for a little while, and I didn’t even have any real problems yet. The victims and all the people who went to the Jason Aldean concert last night were in Las Vegas to escape, to forget about the crushing weight of real life for one night, or simply to have a good time. Instead, a coward decided to open fire on the crowd from his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel. Why did he do it? It’s not really relevant, honestly. Maybe he’s a Las Vegas native who didn’t understand why the city was created in the first place and hated all the tourists. Maybe he wanted to make some grand statement. Maybe he was just crazy. He was a 60-something year-old white guy from the Southwest, I’m guessing it won’t be all that surprising what his motives were if they’re ever publicized. No matter what, he was still a scumbag who killed almost 60 people, and, surprisingly, you don’t need to be a Muslim to be a terrorist. That’s enough about him, though.
I was in college at the University of Connecticut when the Sandy Hook shooting happened in Newtown, Connecticut. Even then, I had become numb to the various mass shootings that seem to happen every other week in America, but this one was different. I don’t know if it was because it was so close by, or because it was kids, but for whatever reason that really hit me hard. I didn’t go to class, I called my mom, I spent most of the day in bed just kind of being sad and thinking about life. I won’t insult the victims and witnesses of last night’s shooting by saying I know how they feel, but I’m saying that these shootings affect many more people than just who was there when it happened. Take the 58 dead and however many injured: they’ve all got families, they’ve all got friends, heck, even the people that just watched other people die or get seriously injured, they all have to live with the consequences of one man’s senseless choice to open fire on a crowd on defenseless people. It’s a stupid and not overly sensitive thing to bring up, but Jason Aldean, Mandalay Bay, and Las Vegas in general are all going to have this on their conscience and resume forever. And I can already predict the fallout from this, too. The ultimate debate “is it time for gun control?” will flare up again, and one side will say it’s not the gun’s fault, it’s the person, and then the other side will say “well why was someone like this able to get his hands on an assault rifle?” and they’ll just keep going back and forth until everyone forgets this ever happened until the next time. Nothing will change. I mean, in my mind the only real reason anyone would have a gun like this is to commit mass shootings, so, I don’t know, maybe people don’t need them? This is the only country where this kind of thing happens all the time, so perhaps it’s actually time to switch things up a bit. The gun guys will be very, very, very upset if their toys get taken away, but the next time someone kneels during the national anthem they’ll be distracted enough to move on. I really don’t understand why anyone who’s not in the military would ever need an automatic weapon, but what do I know? It’d be nice if this kind of thing never happened again, but I’m realistic enough to it will. As long as people who are willing to kill a bunch of people have access to weapons, it’ll keep happening. Take away the guns, and they’ll build bombs. Take away the bombs, and they’ll hijack buses or planes. People are incredibly resourceful when it comes to killing other people. Maybe I’m just cynical, but the only solution I can give is ask people not to kill other people. That seems like too much to ask, though. I hope every victim receives the medical help they need, and I hope everyone out there takes care of themselves enough mentally where no one actually thinks that attacking a bunch of strangers is acceptable behavior.
And now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.