Written By: Lawrence Lam
The Western world reels yet again from another mass shooting that seems to befall the US more and more often. As I observe news commentators continue to discuss gun control, radicalization, metal illness and prod for causes, I can’t help but notice a huge omission.
The elephant in the room stems from the venue of the attack itself and it’s the very nature of the Las Vegas culture. Las Vegas has a unique reputation as “sin city”, a haven for hedonism, a no-judgement liberal utopia where earthly addictions and curiosities can be entertained (though never satisfactorily satisfied). The endless rows of lights are not enough to cover up the gambling, prostitution, questionable wedding chapels and overall materialism, promising the indulger that “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”.
Among those promises are venues that feed into the aggressive machoisms such as race car driving, heavy machinery operation and, yep, firing heavy artillery. Upon landing at McCarran airport I can’t help but notice juxtaposed to the rows of slot machines the posters advertising shooting ranges that let you fire automatic weapons.
The fact that there are many distractions in Vegas is not bad in and of itself, but there are many that are drawn to Vegas and steeped in the excesses of this culture. There are indications that this shooter is such an individual. Place this in a town where those in despair let their fantasies be their last hurrah and a travesty like that of Sunday night is inevitable given enough time. Hotel staff are reluctant to admit the regularity at which they find their guests dead from suicide after having indulged in an expensive night out before. If a fantasy on offer is to act out one’s rage with heavy artillery on makeshift targets, in a city where human dignity is downplayed in favour of temporal distractions, then multiple human targets of automatic weapons can have the dire consequences that we observed.
When it comes to honouring and respecting human dignity, knowledge is simply not enough. The culture of Las Vegas is a high concentration of the violent culture of the greater United States. No gun control law can satisfactorily save lives without a proliferation of an authentic culture of life, where anger is not acted out in violence, but where the law of love and respect breaks down the walls of isolation and misunderstanding.
If such an inculturation can be renewed in Las Vegas against the backdrop of this human disaster, may it not stay just there.
Our prayers go to the repose of the victims, to the consolation of affected families, gratitude to the heroes who mitigated the harm, and support to those who strive to raise the level of culture in America.
If publishing article online please attribute source Serviam Ministries with link to original article.