The stories of sacrifice and heroism in Las Vegas during the largest mass murder in US history are truly inspiring. There are many out there, but some of them just grab you by the heart and won’t let go. 59 people are dead and 527 are in local hospitals after Stephen Paddock, a 64 year-old man from Mesquite, Nevada, shot into a crowd of over 22,000 at a country music festival across from the Mandalay Bay where he was located on the 32nd floor. He had a suite with two rooms and had two stands set up as far as I can tell. He had 12 or 13 weapons at his disposal. A number of them were illegally converted to fully automatic weaponry. They also found explosives and triggers in his car and homes, as well as 18 other guns. The guns were purchased in at least four states over time. This was well-planned and premeditated murder on an epic scale.
Heroes and witnesses
Taylor Benge is one of the survivors of the Mandalay Massacre. He attended the festival with his sister. She threw herself on top of her brother to protect him from the bullets as they rained down on the crowd. “My sister and I, we started running to the left and every time they shot, we took cover,” Benge said. “My sister, being as noble as she is, she actually threw herself on top of me,” he added, “and was saying, ‘I love you Taylor, I love you.’ And I’ll never forget that.” They both escaped the death trap unharmed. Benge was an agnostic, but not anymore… “I was agnostic going into that concert, and I’m a firm believer in God now,” Benge told CNN, “because there’s no way that all of that happened, and that I made it, and I was blessed enough to still be here alive talking to you today.”
Chris Bethel is an Iraq War veteran from Fort Worth, Texas. He helped LVPD track down where the shots were coming from on the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay. He was in Vegas for an IT conference and was staying at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. He was staying just two floors underneath the killer. Shots rang out at about 10 pm Sunday night and Bethel knew the sound all too well from combat. He called the police immediately. “I could just hear the gun shots. Continuously. Just full automatic. There’s explosions going off. It was like, a bomb just went off man. And then there were more gun shots,” Bethel said, according to KTVT-TV.
The only explosion to go off that night was the police using a device to blast through the killer’s hotel door. Bethel could see hundreds of people below running for their lives. “I kept looking at the windows to see if I could see any kind of muzzle flash to see if I could see where the shooter was. I crouched by my front door. In hopes that I might get the opportunity to see the shooter if he ran by and I could identify him,” Bethel said. Shortly after that, the police arrived on the scene… about ten minutes after Bethel placed his call. LVPD called Bethel and told him they found the shooter who had committed suicide before they could get to him.
Bethel’s call may have saved many more lives as he cut Paddock’s party short, but he still feels he didn’t do enough. “I feel like I couldn’t get a hold of somebody quick enough to let them know. And it felt like it took them too long to get over there, to take him out, to get him. It’s actually eating me up inside,” Bethel told KTVT. In my book, he’s a hero plain and simple.
Mike McGarry is a 53 year-old financial adviser from Philadelphia. He was at the festival with his family when hundreds of shots started ringing out. His first instinct was to protect his children. “It was crazy–I laid on top of the kids. They’re 20. I‘m 53. I lived a good life,” McGarry said. Reuters reported the back of McGarry’s shirt bore the footmarks of those who had ran over him in the panicked crowd. They all survived and that is the deepest kind of love, being willing to sacrifice yourself for your children.
Not everyone made it out alive. Sonny Melton, 29, was an emergency room nurse married to a surgeon named Heather Melton. When the shooting began, he ran with his wife, saving her life, but sadly losing his. They were at the festival celebrating their wedding anniversary. “He grabbed me and started running when I felt him get shot in the back. I want everyone to know what a kindhearted, loving man he was, but at this point, I can barely breathe,” Heather said.
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) October 2, 2017
Christopher Roybal was a 29 year-old military veteran who served in Afghanistan. He went to the festival with his mom, Debby Allen. They arrived at different times and were going to meet up. When Debby texted her son, she got no answer. They were on opposite sides of the stage when the gunfire started. “I was trying to run towards wherever I thought he might be,” she said. “This man wouldn’t let me — he kept pulling me away saying, ‘You can’t run towards the gunfire.’” Debby later ran into a firefighter who had been behind her son when he was hit. “He told me my son was shot in the chest — that he said, ‘I was hit, I’m hit’,” Allen said. “They all bent down when the gunfire began and my son just fell back.”
Adrian Murfitt was a 35 year-old commercial fisherman. He visited Las Vegas from his home in Anchorage, Alaska to vacation. Murfitt “was happy to pay some things off and had made some really good money,” his sister, Shannon Gothard, told the AP. He “decided to go out and celebrate and go to the concert and treat himself to something nice and fun.” It would be the last thing he ever did. A friend was with Murfitt as he was gunned down and later notified his family.
Sandy Casey also came from Manhattan Beach, CA. She was a special education teacher and a country music lover. She went to the festival with her fiance and some friends. They were near the stage when she was shot in her lower back. Her fiance tried carrying her to safety, dodging gunfire, but it was too late. “This is unbelievably sad and tragic,” said the district superintendent, Mike Matthews, according NBC Los Angeles. “We lost a spectacular teacher who devoted her life to helping some of our most needy students.”
Carrie Barnette was a 30 year-old longtime worker from Disneyland. She went to Vegas to celebrate a friend’s birthday. “She was always generous and helping everybody in every way,” her mother, Mavis Barnette said. “She loved her nieces and nephews and her sister and brother.” Disney CEO Robert Iger confirmed that Barnette had died on Twitter. “A senseless, horrific, act, and a terrible loss for so many,” he wrote. “We mourn a wonderful member of the Disney family: Carrie Barnette. Tragic.”
Quinton Robbins was only 20 years-old. He took his girlfriend on a date to the festival and would never go on another. She saw him clutch his chest and she thought that since he was a diabetic, it was low blood sugar. She couldn’t have known at that point he had been shot in the chest. He was the oldest of three children and was a student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, my alma mater.
Angie Gomez was also 20 years-old. She graduated high school just two short years ago and her whole life was ahead of her. She had landed a job as a certified nursing assistant and was celebrating at the festival. She was shot three times… once in the shoulder and twice in the arm. She passed away before her longtime boyfriend could get her to a hospital. School officials in Riverside, California, described her on Monday as a determined, but convivial student who loved theater and choir. “We are shaken and saddened by this news,” the district said in a statement. “Angie was a loyal friend who loved her family and will be forever missed by all who knew her.”
Neysa Tonks worked for a southern California-based technology company and had three children. Her employer was Technologent and they confirmed her death yesterday. On a fundraising page, friends recalled her humor and posted photos of her wrapped in toilet paper or flashing a goofy grin for the camera. “Neysa was always down to be silly,” one friend wrote. “More memories than I can count are of her laughing and she had the BEST laugh!! She will be GREATLY and DEEPLY missed!!!”
Susan Smith was 53 and an elementary school office manager and district fixture in Simi Valley, California. She always had a smile for people and never missed a dance recital. “It’s numbing,” a family friend, Suzanne Smith, told NBC Los Angeles. “It doesn’t seem real.” She was at the festival with friends when she was shot down.
There are a lot of stories out there and many are inspiring. Many more are tragic. I spent a lot of time crying over this yesterday… it breaks my heart. I’d like to leave you with the message my friend Councilwoman Michele Fiore put out yesterday:
Pray and Give
As we wake up this morning the sunrises over the greatest tragedy to visit our city since the MGM Grand fire, it is heartbreaking to hear the casualty numbers get higher and higher. It is just hard to wrap your head around this kind of evil existing in the world.
But we are not only Americans we are Las Vegans. We take care of our own. So let’s start by doing a few simple things.
Give blood today with me. There is an urgent need for all types. The donation locations are listed below.
Reach out to any friends or families of the victims you may know and offer your help any way they need it; a ride to the hospital, sitting with them in the waiting room, looking after a child or just being there to listen and letting them know they are loved.
Check in on your friends and family that were there and not injured. They may need a person to talk to.
Take a moment when you see a first responder to thank them for their service.
And finally, take the time to hug your children and loved ones a little tighter. To let the people in your life know you love them. Eat a meal tonight as a family. Truly appreciate the people in your life. They are your true blessings.
We are not only strong; we are Vegas Strong. We will get through this together.
As Elder Ellis said yesterday, “The world is dangerous, and the Lord has commanded his people to not act out of a spirit of fear. The Lord’s answer to hard times is to go forward with faith”.
You can give blood at UMC Hospital, Delta Point 901 Rancho Lane, Las Vegas as well as the following locations through Nevada.
All my love,
A Tale of Two Shootings
It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. Charles Dickens probably never thought of a shooting as the best of times, nor would anyone else. However, if you HAVE to have a shooting, then the obvious “best of times” is one where only the gunman dies. Unfortunately that isn’t always the case.
Today we had yet another, preventable shooting at a soft-target school, where the best defense the government can come up with is making the school a gun-free zone, and occasionally a couple of cops.
The facts will continue to play out, but while two police officers acted heroically today (take note, Broward County Sheriff’s Office) what we do know is that there were still far too many innocents killed. The first officer was shot before he knew what was happening, and the second seems to have moved as fast as he could, though no one can be everywhere at once.
This will obviously be a story that is played out in the press for days, while the talking heads on Fox News and CNN spout various “solutions” to the problems of mass shootings. Most of these talking heads won’t have the first clue what they are talking about.
I am a former military and civilian firearms instructor. I still teach friends and family who want to learn, but I don’t charge anymore. I was a Texas Concealed Handgun Instructor. I know the law in Texas. A 17 year-old having access to his father’s weapons like what happened today is a felony for the father. Yes, there is a DEFENSE to this charge if the gun was used in self-defense, but this was not the case here, and so the father can not use this defense in court, though I’m sure his lawyers will try if they’re paid enough. The father of today’s shooter (I won’t use his name and give him the fame so many of these killers desire) WILL see time in prison, if Attorney General Ken Paxton has anything to say about it. The father may have obtained his guns legally, but in no way was a 17 year-old legally using them.
Obviously, today’s shooting was the worst of times.
The best of times happened just yesterday in Dixon, Illinois, when a school resource officer shot a would-be school shooter. There were snippets about this in the NY Times and other major news outlets, but that story has already gone away, while this one will not. It SHOULD be talked about just as much as today’s shooting. We need to talk about successes in stopping school shootings just as much as we talk about failures. We need to have an honest conversation about what DOES and what DOES NOT work.
I’m not going to use this piece to go into a great detail on the gun-control debate, though I’m sure that’s where the Left will continue to take us, even though they admit there are no additional laws they want that would stop these horrific tragedies. I DO want us all to come to some common ground on this issue of school shootings though.
1. ALL of us (we, the common people) want these to stop. I say we the common people because there are a great number of politicians on both sides of the debate, but particularly on the Left, who make a great deal of hay when these incidents happen.
2. We have to have an honest conversation about what does and does not work. An HONEST conversation, by the way, Lefties, does not mean what levels of gun control we’re willing to accept. And for those on the Right, yes, we need to talk about gun control. It’s our job to demonstrate to those who are ill-informed why gun control has not and never will work.
3. We need to approach this with logic and facts, not emotion.
This honest conversation has to begin with certain undeniable facts:
1. The shootings with the lowest body counts are those stopped by a good guy with a gun. It’s not ALWAYS a cop. Arming responsible teachers who both desire to carry and have demonstrated that they can handle a gun is something we need to talk about. I’ve heard good arguments for this, and one or two reasonable concerns against.
2. In nearly every incidence, mental health has played a factor, and could be seen BEFORE the shooting.
3. In MOST (not all) incidences, there were already mechanisms in place within current law that COULD have and SHOULD have stopped the gunman from obtaining firearms. Take today for example. Daddy is going to go to jail, and he should, for not having his firearms secured where his son could get them. I’m speculating here, but I’m willing to bet a lot of money as the investigation goes on, that the father of the gunman knew his son was disturbed, and should not only have kept his firearms secure from his son, as is the law in Texas, but also should have been seeking mental health for his son.
4. The Left is going to hate this one, but it’s an undeniable fact. Almost every one of these mass shootings, and ALL of them in schools, are in gun free zones. Those who know little to nothing about guns may think this irrelevant, but it is one of the most important points. They are soft targets that are chosen because most if not everyone there is completely defenseless.
There is more we could talk about on today’s shooting. We could talk about the explosives, the fact that neither of the guns used are ones the Left (currently) claims it wants to ban, or the instant calls for gun control. I did see something just yesterday that I found interesting from the Left. They were complaining that Parkland was disappearing from the news and it wasn’t getting any attention anymore, a month later. They wanted to push for gun control and nothing else.
Well, I have a solution for this. Adhere to the above rules for a conversation, and accept the undeniable facts above, and then engage us with logic and reason, instead of pure emotion. The kids from the Parkland shooting got famous not for their calm reason, but for their rage.
And before you think I’m not emotional ENOUGH about all this, just keep in mind I have two little boys in public school here in Texas. Yes, I’d love for the teachers and administrators in their schools (those who want to be) armed and willing to protect my kids. I’ll donate the time on the range to help them become proficient. I’ll even pay for the ammo and range time.
Hazel picks up key endorsement
With just a couple of weeks to go before the Georgia primaries, insurgent candidate Shane Hazel has picked up a key endorsement in his bid to unseat liberal Republican Rob Woodall in the Georgia 7th Congressional District.
Hazel, the former Marine Force Reconnaissance member and proven businessman, has picked up the endorsement of the Republican Liberty Caucus. The RLC, also known as “the conscience of the party” endorsed Hazel should come as little surprise. The RLC has a long history of focusing on endorsing liberty-minded candidates, rather than establishment members who have proven themselves to be unreliable when it comes to conservative issues.
The RLC earlier this year likewise endorsed MO Senate Candidate Austin Petersen.
The outpouring of support for insurgent candidates is clear as supporters take to social media to voice their displeasure at the lack of follow through from lawmakers like Woodall during their time in control of both houses of Congress and with Donald Trump in the Oval Office. The failure to repeal Obamacare as well as passage of a massive $1.3 Trillion omnibus bill have angered most voters on the right, resulting in the realization that giving the GOP control of Washington is not enough, they must, in fact, cull the GOP Congressional roster of those who make conservative promises, but vote like leftists.
As my readers have noted I’ve followed several insurgent races across the country. Hazel’s may be the best example of a truly grassroots movement of ordinary citizens fed up with “business as usual” in Washington, and instead want to see real change with a return to Constitutional principles.
In a past article I noted that Hazel and others were not garnering any support from many of the major lobbying groups. In the latest of their disappointing moves, the National Rifle Association chose to endorse Woodall, telling Hazel they preferred to stick with “the devil we know.” Well, the problem with dealing with a devil is sooner or later he’ll betray you. Woodall had bragged previously that he has the lowest score from the NRA of all Republicans in Georgia, and that he was proud of it.
Always a class act, instead of complaining about the NRA’s rather typical move in endorsing establishment candidates, he told me “I will never vote for any legislation that puts people, especially veterans, on a no-buy list without due process. Woodall has voted repeatedly for Feinstein gun control, Fix NICS, against national reciprocity, and for Obama’a 4660 that has put 200,000 veteran on a list denying them their right to bear arms, without due process. Shall not be infringed means exactly that.”
The NRA’s hierarchy can say what they like, but we rank-and-file gun 2nd Amendment advocates don’t vote the NRA line, and I think we’re smart enough to vote for a man who truly cares about liberty, not a man who has proven he doesn’t.
You can learn more about Shane at www.shanehazel.com
A Memo to the Liberty Grabbers of the Left from the Pro-Liberty Right.
Hat Tip: Nazis Are Socialists (Meso)
A dose of reality for you Leftists opposing freedom on behalf of the gun owners of America.
Seeing that we gun owners been your rhetorical punching bag for several weeks, there are a few things we would like to point out to you folks opposed to the most essential of Liberties. You’ve spent all manner of airtime talking down to us, dictating what we ‘need’ with regard to our basic human rights. So now it is time for you to listen to a couple of brutal truths in the matter. These aren’t going to be ‘politically correct’, by any means, but such is usually not the case with cold hard reality.
From your ever so self laudatory language, you Liberty grabbers on the Left like to think of yourselves as noble warriors, out there ‘changing the world’ for the ‘Common good’ [Gemeinnutz in the German vernacular]. Fighting for Socialist… er. Social ‘Justice’ and all manner of flowery folderol [Cue mournful violin music]. Yes, you think of yourselves as ‘sacrificing’ for the ‘the children*’ no matter what that entails. Whether it’s all manner of fame on Youtube or Facebook, to endless praise from your echo chamber, there are no limits as to your willingness to signal your virtue to everyone.
*Unborn children excluded
Well, sorry to break it to you, but in the words of the Marchers: “We call BS!”
The fact is there is nothing more selfish than demanding that others be deprived of their ‘essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety’ for yourselves. You want others to sacrifice their freedom for some mythical gains in your perceived security. It would be one thing for you to give up your Liberty, but that isn’t the case is it? You are marching to demand that the basic human rights of others be stripped from them, that is self-centred in the extreme.
“Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves” ― Abraham Lincoln
Empathy is a very important human quality, so perhaps you should consider giving up some of your essential liberties to understand what is at stake for those of us on the Pro-Liberty side of the aisle. Maybe you should demand that you be stripped of your First amendment rights? Or perhaps Liberty Grabbers groups should be licensed before they can demand that others be deprived of their rights?
Oh, what’s that you say? You have a Constitutional right to free-speech or freedom of the press? That those rights ‘Shall not be infringed’? [to coin a phrase] Or that the slightest amount will lead to a slippery slope towards the loss of them all. Welcome to our world, where every time a Leftist lunatic decides to go on a mass murder spree, our Constitutional rights are suddenly on the chopping block. With it just being a question of how much of those rights we’re going to lose – if not everything.
Can we dictate what you ‘need’ in exercising your Rights?
Can we demand that you justify the keeping of your liberties? Can we arbitrarily decree that certain modes of speech are ‘Militaristic’ in style? Do you really ‘need’ to appear on the Tele 30 times a day? Do you really need a ‘high capacity’ smart phone? Do you really need to fire off 5 tweets in a minute just to kill off a basic human right?
Hypocrisy on parade: Liberty Grabbers have guns to protect themselves while denying that right to others.
Please note that the people in the Liberty Grabber movement you idolize are also complete hypocrites in that while they work tirelessly to take away our property and our Liberty, they are safe and secure surrounded by ARMED security. Yes, think about it, the people who rail against guns have no problem being protected by them. Were they to be true to their words, they would disarm their security details. If Citibank and Bank of America didn’t care to be hypocrites they would dismiss their armed security and announce it to the world. Oh, they have to deal with threats? So do the rest of us – and yet they want to make everyone else vulnerable to those threats while they stay safe and secure.
Here’s a hard dose of reality for you: We gun owners protect everyone, even you Liberty Grabbers.
The truth is that while you uselessly virtue signal your inestimable magnanimity, it is those of us on the Pro-liberty side who work to keep you people safe. This may come as a shock, but if you live in one of the states or localities that value Liberty, you are around concealed weapons every time you go out in public. Yes, you might find this to be too scary to think about, but every day you are protected by the deterrence effect of ordinary folks just like you [aside from their cherishing freedom that is] carrying around *Gasp* Firearms hidden from view.
Consequently, you don’t know who might be carrying a gun…. and neither do the criminals. Thus the value of an armed citizenry. They don’t know who may have the means to defend themselves, so they don’t know who to victimize, therefore everyone is protected.
The exception being The “Gun-Free” zone, that vestige of the Utopian fantasy world of the Left. Most mass shootings take place where the innocent are denied their basic human Liberty of self-defence. So what does that mean for you Leftists of the so-called “Party of Science”? It means that your absurd idea that a sign will stop a mass murder results in dead children. That is what you want everywhere, how does that even reach the threshold of rationality?
If you aren’t going to thank us for keeping you safe, could you at least leave us alone?
So why is all of this important? Because the people you have demonisd for weeks are the ones keeping you safe. Those you label as terrorist, splattered in blood are the people providing for your security. How is that for irony?
- We’re the ones who take the time endure the draconian hurdles put in the way of our basic human rights.
- We’re the ones who take the time to select the proper firearm and holster to carry concealed out in public.
- We’re the ones who practice with our weapons in case an emergency arises.
- We’re the ones who carry a cellphone and extra magazines for that potential emergency.
- And We’re the ones who will most likely have to deal myriad legal problem and legal fees for merely protecting ourselves, our families and even you people should it be necessary.
Now, we don’t expect you people to grateful for this protection you are afforded. Goodness knows you wouldn’t lower yourself to talk to those of us on the Pro-liberty side. But could you at least acknowledge the effort and perhaps stop obsessing over taking away our Liberty that keeps you safe?