As a gunman positioned on the 32nd floor of a hotel in Las Vegas sprayed bullets on an outdoor concert venue below, people fled in confusion and then more shots rained down, as if the perpetrator were playing a murder game.
The grisly attack left close to 60 people dead and over 500 injured, making it the worst shooting in U.S. history. It was an indiscriminate act of terrorism targeting people who were merely enjoying music. One cannot help but feel strong anger over this cold-blooded rampage.
It has emerged that the gunman, a 64-year-old Caucasian man, had over 20 high-powered guns in his hotel room, including rifles. Another 19 guns and an explosive material were also reportedly found at his home.
Why did this man, who was thought to be an ordinary person, go on such a rampage? The detailed background to the killing and the perpetrator's motive remain unknown. The militant group Islamic State (IS) released a statement claiming it was involved in the attack, but there is no evidence that the gunman, who took his own life afterward, was in any way linked to IS.
In any case, it is certain that the attack brought the need for gun control in the United States to the fore once again.
There has been no end to mass shootings in the U.S. Last year 49 people died from a shooting at a night club in Florida, and in 2012, a total of 20 children and six adults lost their lives in a shooting at elementary school in Connecticut.
Last year, then U.S. President Barack Obama announced a toughening of gun control measures with stricter checks on people purchasing guns, and shed tears as he mentioned the deadly elementary school shooting in 2012. The Democratic Party, to which Obama belongs, has taken a positive stance toward gun control.
The Republican Party, on the other hand, has generally been opposed to new restrictions, based on the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of the right to keep and bear arms. Whenever a mass shooting has occurred, groups including the National Rifle Association, a powerful lobby in U.S. politics, have presented arguments in support of guns, such as that if someone with a gun had been present, the shooter could have been stopped. As a result, restrictions have been slow to move forward.
In the latest case, however, there was no way for people to resist as bullets rained down on them from above. The problem lies with ordinary people being able to purchase the type of guns that are used in war.
Meanwhile, the propaganda of extremist groups such as IS is intensifying globally through the internet. The United States, which has an abundance of guns, has an environment susceptible to "lone wolf" terrorist attacks.
Republican U.S. President Donald Trump did not touch on gun regulations in a statement on the Las Vegas shooting. However, the country has been on edge over terrorist countermeasures at home and abroad since the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The U.S. needs to seriously get to work on gun control.