The Las Vegas carnage | Daily News

The Las Vegas carnage

The horrendous massacre in Las Vegas, USA, where a lone gunman opened machine gun fire on an open air Country and Western musical show, no doubt, would have shocked the entire civilized world. At the time this is being written 59 persons were reported killed and over 525 injured, scores of them critically, in what is described as the biggest massacre in peace time.

The 64 old gunman, who, it is reported, carried a pilot’s license, had lodged at a hotel in the vicinity of the concert venue, biding his time for three days, till the dawn of the day of the concert. He had booked a room on the 37th floor of the hotel, obviously with the aim of facilitating his mission, to account for as much victims as he could. He killed himself after accomplishing his macabre deed.

The US Police later found 12 guns in the assailant’s hotel room and another 37 rifles at his home. It is reported that he had purchased the rifles in their original form and converted them to machine guns over a period. Hence, the killer had clearly been planning his deadly mission well in advance to execute same at a time and place of his choosing.

The mass killing had once again thrown open the whole debate on Gun Control in the USA. Even in the Las Vegas aftermath the pro-gun lobby was sticking to its guns in the midst of strident voices time calling for the ban on the open sale of guns. The issue no doubt is a politically charged one with no one to bell the cat in the foreseeable future.

Strangely, the Las Vegas assassin had no police record, although it was claimed that his father was a bank robber, responsible for several hold-ups. Monday dawn’s blood bath, by all accounts, is the biggest mass tragedy to hit the USA, outside of natural disasters. US President Donald Trump appeared on American television to condemn the attack and condole with the next of kin of the victims, pledging not to allow evil to triumph, while Senators of Nevada and the Sheriff of Las Vegas praised the efforts of the first respondents, such as the crew of the fire-brigades, and hospitals, but for which, the death toll was bound to have soared. Urgent appeals also went out for blood while TV footage showing chaotic scenes unfolded on the screens. Moving accounts of heroism too were recounted by some of the survivors on television while the deeds of two off-duty policemen who had rushed to the scene, when the staccato bursts of gun fire first rang out, apparently to warn the revelers, only to be gunned down, came in for much acclamation.

The US authorities have discounted any terrorist link in the massacre although an Asian female who had been in the company of the assassin, is being pursued. The attack, from all evidence, so far gathered is a ‘lone wolf’ project carried out by a sick mind.

Efforts though has been by a local English daily to portray the Las Vegas carnage as yet another terrorist attack and that the US, and west in general, were only getting their just deserts for taking the soft approach against terrorism in the Third World countries, such as Sri Lanka, while also importing terrorism to these countries. The inference is clear. Where Mahinda Rajapaksa succeeded in defeating the world’s most ruthless terrorist outfit, the US and the West is still groping in the dark.

Be that as it may, Sri Lankans certainly can empathize with the families of the victims of the Las Vagas tragedy, having being witness to scenes of a similar nature for nearly three decades. While Mahinda Rajapaksa, no doubt, gets the lion’s share of the credit for presiding over the final battle to eradicate terrorism from the country, to other leaders, before him, should also go part of the kudos for their contribution towards the military build-up, over the years, in terms of man power, weaponry and training, that facilitated the end, in no small measure.

Has Sri Lanka’s cricket turned the corner?

There will, no doubt, be smiles on the faces of all Lankan cricket fans, following the thrilling victory clinched by our boys against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi. The victory will be doubly exhilarating, since it ended a barren spell for the Lankan team, following the serial losses against India and below par performances against underdogs Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. It is hoped, that, with this turn around, the Lankan team will once again get back to winning ways, which marked our performances soon after the 1996 World Cup victory.

Of course, one swallow does not make a summer, and, admittedly, the lads have some hard work ahead, if we are to maintain a winning streak. The narrowness of the victory, and the fact that things could easily have gone the other way, is an indication that there is no room for complacency. 


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