Column: When will it end?

Written by on December 7, 2023

By Aubreigh Heck / Editor-In-Chief

It was my sophomore year of high school that my hometown, Las Vegas, Nevada, suffered from the largest mass shooting in American history

October 1. 58 dead. Over 600 injured. 

I had never seen my city come full stop like that before. Las Vegas Blvd was empty, the hotels were quiet but the city was angry. Angry that something like this could happen in our town, angry that we had to say goodbye to 58 innocent people, angry that we felt vulnerable. 

Vegas rallied like never before. Blood donation lines stretched for miles, volunteers flooded in to help and we showed the country what it truly meant to be Vegas Strong. 

It was my sophomore year of college when I wrote my first column about the October 1st shooting. I called for action, for some type of change to prevent this from happening again. 

Why in the world should that be allowed?

“As more information came out, the angrier I got. Stephen Paddock acquired all of his guns and tools he used in a legal fashion. Why in the world should that be allowed? Why does someone need that many guns? Could all of this have been prevented if he wasn’t allowed such a copious amount of firearms,” a direct quote from my first column. 

The University of Las Vegas Campus.

The University of Las Vegas Campus.

 Now, as I approach my final semester for my bachelors degree, my city is facing another mass shooting tragedy

On December 6, 2023, the University of Las Vegas Nevada was attacked by a gunman. There have been three victims so far, plus the shooter themself. 

But here we are, in some sort of sick loop. 

When my former journalism advisor texted me about the active shooter situation unfolding, I felt such an unwelcome and unwanted familiar feeling. The feeling I thought I left behind in 2017. The feeling I never wanted to feel again. But here we are, in some sort of sick loop. 

Thoughts and prayers are not enough. They weren’t enough in 2017, they weren’t enough in 2013 for Sandy Hook, 2018 for Parkland, 2022 for Buffalo, 2016 for Orlando, the list can go on and on. 

Are you happy now?

At the same time as reports of the UNLV shooting were being released, republican lawmakers shot down a bill to introduce tighter gun laws, and I have a question and a message for them: Are you happy now? Do you understand what it’s like to have to sit and wait to see if you recognize any names on a victim list? What it is like to frantically scroll through all your social media to see friends and family check in after a shooting happens where you’re from? To feel helpless and selfish because you are praying to God that no one you know is hurt? 

The UNLV student union building.

The UNLV student union building.

I hope and pray that you never have to go through that. Being so stricken by anxiety that you are unable to function until you know your loved ones are okay, but because of you, I do. I have had to do this twice now. I almost consider myself lucky in some sick way, because I’ve only had to feel that twice. 

I know it could be a lot worse, and that should make you feel bad. I hope that as you fall asleep tonight, fall asleep knowing that three people don’t get that same privilege, because of you. Three families are now mourning the loss of their loved one, because of you. Three seats in classrooms will remain empty, because of you. I hope you all who voted against the tighter gun laws are haunted by these thoughts, and that the lives you failed to protect never leave your minds. 

For anyone else reading this, know that while Vegas is faced with another tragedy, we will ALWAYS be Vegas Strong, and now, UNLV Strong.

Aubreigh Heck is a Las Vegas Senior majoring in Communications and Public Relations. She serves as KWU Student Media’s Editor-In-Chief. 

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