We at the Alligator, along with everyone else in the U.S., woke up to some terrifying statistics Monday morning. The deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history. This tragic event occurred in Las Vegas, where one man managed to bring 17 guns into a hotel room, knock out the windows and begin indiscriminately firing into a crowd hundreds of feet away. This one man took away a record from Florida that never should have been established in the first place.
For journalists, our initial reaction is to run to the scene of the crime and get as much information out to our readers. When we’re thousands of miles away from the incident, that turns into obsessively checking Twitter, zoning out of your morning history lecture and maybe even shedding a few tears for strangers across the country.
Through our shock and disbelief we would like to thank some UF College of Journalism and Communications alumni in Las Vegas right now. Scott Davidson, Rachel Crosby, Wade Millward, editor-in-chief J. Keith Moyer and recent graduate Briana Erickson, who are all working at the Las Vegas Review-Journal. They and all the other reporters in Vegas have been working tirelessly to send the rest of the nation information. We can only imagine the horror of watching this senseless violence unfold while still keeping it together enough to do your job.
It is rather unique that so many UF alumni migrated to Las Vegas. Our current editor-in-chief interned there this summer, while Spring 2017’s managing print editor interned there the summer prior. Our point is that we may be far away, but to some of us here in Gainesville, Vegas feels a little bit like home. Plus, one of our own Gators was injured in the shooting: Kristin Babik, a third year law student.
We don’t have to go over how we were feeling when the Pulse tragedy occurred more than a year ago. We’re feeling it again: helpless, confused and angry. All we can do is ask ourselves: How can this be prevented in the future?
If the aftermath of this shooting isn’t the time to talk about gun control, then when is? Nothing was changed when children were shot down at Sandy Hook Elementary. Nothing was changed when our Florida LGBTQ+ and Latino neighbors were killed while trying to enjoy a night out. Is anything going to change now? Why would you need military-grade, high-powered rifles for anything other than murdering other humans as fast as possible?
Amid the recent controversies in our political climate, people keep insisting that the U.S. is the greatest country in the world. If we want to keep that title, we need to at least try to prevent our citizens from being shot down from hundreds of feet away while trying to enjoy a concert. The record for deadliest mass shooting should not have been set at Sandy Hook, and then in Orlando and now in Las Vegas. We don’t want to see this again, but the heartbreaking reality is that if something doesn’t change, this won’t be the last time.
If you are able, please consider donating to Babik’s GoFundMe account at gofundme.com/4ipc5i0, and the gofundme for all the shooting victims, started by Nevada’s Clark County Commission Chairman, Steve Sisolak, at gofundme.com/dr2ks2-las-vegas-victims-fund.