The biggest mass shooting in US history took place on the Las Vegas strip just a few days ago. The devastation it has caused has shaken the city and the rest of the world to the core.
59 people lost their lives on Sunday night, with a further 527 people left injured. They, along with around 21,000 other people, were simply enjoying Route 91 Harvest, a country music festival, before a lone gunman opened fire into the crowd.
Shahid Meighan, a Psychology student, was working on the strip that night and left work just 30 minutes before the incident took place. “I work on the strip as a Supervisor at CVS, not far from Mandalay Bay and the alarms in work went off, but we didn’t know why. I got off break and went home and once I heard news I realised that’s why.”
Just on his way back from work like on any normal day, Shahid had no idea of the atrocity taking place in the area which he had left just half an hour earlier. “It was crazy because when I got the first message from a friend I didn’t even know what they were talking about! I checked Facebook and then saw the news when I got home and I was in disbelief.”
Shahid moved to the area three years ago from Los Angeles and is currently studying at Nevada State College. He along with his peers are currently in mourning following the news of the death of two alumni at the college.
He has been amazed at the way the people in Las Vegas have come together and shown their strength in a time of great tragedy. “Most people are calm now and the community has done a great job of coming together with people handing out food and water and people queuing up to donate blood. I love seeing that.”
With the prospect of returning to work on Wednesday, Shahid feels safe and prepared and believes that it will be just like an ordinary day as the city adjusts to life after the incident. That being said, the 21-year-old does have concerns about attending a concert there this coming Friday.
American hip-hop artist Nas is due to perform at The Chelsea in front of a sell out crowd and there is no word as of yet regarding whether the concert will still take place.
I feel fine for the most part about going back, but obviously I’m thinking about will it go ahead, how tight will security be and god forbid something could happen while I’m there.
Once again, American gun laws and gun control is at the forefront of discussion and we find ourselves asking the question of whether things will ever change across the pond. Shahid finds that prospect highly unlikely. “I don’t know what could possibly happen to make these folks change their minds and enforce gun control unless politicians stop taking money from the NRA. I do believe that we should have gun control, particularly for automatic weapons. There is no reason for a regular American citizen to have an AK47 or any other automatic weapon.
“People try to argue that it’s their Second Amendment right but they don’t realise that the Second Amendment is taken out of context. It was written more so for Militias because they were around at the time, but obviously they aren’t now.
Despite that, we’re still taking about what the Amendment says word for word even though the context in which it was written no longer applies. They don’t recognise that we’re in a different era, a different time.
Over the coming weeks and months many more questions will be asked of the American government and the FBI regarding the investigation surrounding this incident and the subject of gun control. However, as Shahid says, the city of Las Vegas will remain defiant in this most difficult of times. “It’s definitely going to be part of our history which we will remember with tears in our eyes, but we will bounce back.”